Golmaal Again crosses 200 cr mark: Are franchise films the new safety measure for older stars?

Gautam Chintamani

Nov,13 2017 13:18 40 IST

Since its release 24-days ago, Golmaal Again has already netted ₹200 Cr mark in the domestic market and although it fares below the Dhoom and Krrish series in terms of box office collections, the way it is going, it won’t be a surprise if Golmaal eventually becomes the most successful franchise in Hindi films.

Irrespective of how the adjusted profits of the franchises stand, Golmaal perhaps pips both Dhoom and Krrish series when it comes to consistency in terms of releases and success ratio. There is no news of the next installment in the Krrish series as of now and a fourth Dhoom, probably featuring Salman Khan still at a rumour stage.

Still from Golmaal Again title track. Image via Facebook/ Golmaal Again

Still from Golmaal Again title track. Image via Facebook/ Golmaal Again

However, it appears that Golmaal is the also the franchise with the fastest turnaround. Director Rohit Shetty has already announced that a fifth Golmaal is very much in the pipeline. The commercial success of Golmaal, despite a not so generous word of mouth following lukewarm reviews, has also confirmed that franchises could be the way forward for most leading men.

In the past, one saw Akshay Kumar invest in the Hera Pheri series and Yash Raj Films nurture the Dhoom franchise with two films in 2004 and 2006 but it was with the 2012 sequel to the immensely successful Dabangg (2010) that the concept of the franchise became enshrined. Since then almost every leading star seems to have invested in creating a brand with the idea of transforming it into a franchise – Ajay Devgn (GolmaalSingham), Salman Khan (Dabangg, Tiger), Shah Rukh Khan (Don), Akshay Kumar (Jolly LLBBaby), Sanjay Dutt (Munna Bhai), Hrithik Roshan (Krrish) and Kangana Ranaut (Tanu Weds Manu), Taapsee Pannu (BabyNaam Shabana).

Even Ranbir Kapoor suggested that Jagga Jasoos could be transformed into a series and when it comes to the younger lot, Karan Johar’s Student of the Year suggests to operate on similar lines.

Combined with the fascination for remakes, franchises are not only the new go-to idea but also a retirement scheme for the stars on the other side of 50. One could see Devgn going on for a few more Singhams or Golmaals in the years to come or a Salman Khan doing the same with Dabangg a la Clint Eastwood or Charles Bronson with Dirty Harry or Death Wish series respectively. Age has hardly been a factor in popular Hindi films when it comes to the ‘hero’ but in a Don, Tiger or Baby the age of the protagonist, like Dirty Harry, can become an element for the narrative.

There is no denying that nearly every single franchise right from Dhoom, Singham, Golmaal, Munna Bhai, Krrish or Dabangg and even Race is a money-spinning machine and the added bonus of spin-offs within the franchise make it more inviting. Take for instance, Naam Shabana, which is a prequel of sorts to Baby, and the manner in which surpassed expectations; Baby is believed to have made nearly ₹140 cr on a budget said to be in the vicinity of ₹55-60 cr while Naam Shabana netted around ₹56 cr on a supposed budget of just ₹15 cr.

It won’t be surprising if a Circuit (Munna Bhai) or Bob Biswas (Kahaani) spin-offs soon become a reality.

What does the success of this franchise formula mean for the other forays (read ‘regular’ roles) of these superstars?

While on the one hand, franchises appear to be the so-called safety net for ‘aging’ superstars they also offer them the chance to experiment, that is if they want to. In this aspect, it’s largely Akshay Kumar and Aamir Khan who have continued to invest in projects that not only keep them in the reckoning but also benefit from their own brand.

Kumar’s films be it Toilet: Ek Prem Katha or the upcoming Padman or Khan’s Dangal and the relatively smaller Secret Superstar, have struck a chord with audiences in the same manner that is reminiscent of their popularity two decades ago. Of course, the degree of creativity falls comparatively when things became a no-brainer as concluded from Ajay Devgn’s statement - “Post Ram Lakhan Remake, Rohit and I will start shooting for either Golmaal 4 or Singham 3. We have been discussing a few ideas.” – but who can blame someone for making hay while the sun shines?