Why Bhavesh Joshi Superhero was bound to fail against box office might of Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2

Abhishek Srivastava

Jun 06, 2018 10:11:10 IST

The paltry Rs 30 lakh day one collection of Vikramaditya Motwane-directed Bhavesh Joshi Superhero was so abysmal that it dissuaded the makers to release box office collection of subsequent days. After four days, the combined might of Vikramaditya Motwane, Anurag Kashyap and Eros lay shattered at the box office. The verdict is out now – there are no takers for the antics of Bhavesh Joshi. The resounding NO that has been handed over to the film clearly states that we neither have the wherewithal nor resources to create desi superheroes who are at par with their western counterparts.

It is ironic that director Motwane decided to release his film at a time when theatres were already inundated with other superheroes,  Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2. This time, more than the plot, it was the money power which crushed the super heroics of Bhavesh Joshi. It was also wrong communication which spoilt the party for Harshvardhan and Motwane. Wish the makers had rather called his protagonist a vigilante and not a superhero.

A still from Bhavesh Joshi Superhero. YouTube

A still from Bhavesh Joshi Superhero. YouTube

The moot question before the release was is if Bhavesh Joshi Superhero would be able to hold its fort amidst the onslaught of superhero films which are nothing sort of technical wizardry. Will Bhavesh Joshi be able to leave an impression in an era when superheroes have become synonymous with characters like Iron Man, Wonder Woman, Black Panther, Captain America and Thor who, when armed with wonders of CGI effects, are closest to what we have always imagined since our childhood. At the press conference of the Motwane directed film, when Kashyap was asked about his earlier shelved films Doga (a desi superhero), he remarked that the film was shelved because of budgetary constraint. A few years later, his Phantom Films partner Motwane did not let his dream become another word file on his personal computer. The seed of the film, of which was sown in 2012 when social activist Anna Hazare’s movement against corruption was at its peak, managed to attain a concrete shape only last year.

The film was shaped up in a limited budget as opposed to what superhero films normally require.  In other words, people expecting Bhavesh Joshi to perform death defying stunts and throttle his enemies with his superpower ability, were in for a dejection only because this desi superhero had none of it. The trailer too had ticked the notion that more than wizardry, it relied heavily on hand-to-hand combat and chase sequences. In hindsight, it seems that Motwane had erred in calling Bhavesh Joshi a superhero. The term ‘superhero’ attached to the title of the film only helped raise people’s expectation and there was none.

In an era when Disney’s MCU universe is pumping astronomical sum of money towards special effects of their film more than the cost of the talent, it surely becomes a tall order for a Bollywood film to cater to the post liberalisation generation who are smitten with the antics of the MCU and DC universe superheroes. Its only in the new millennium that Bollywood started experimenting with superhero themed plots but barring one or two most had controlled budget and thus failed to leave any impression, neither at the box office nor with the audiences. Zokkomon, Alag, Drona, A Flying Jatt and Ra.One were a few films that were rejected outright. Despite the money power, Ra.One was extremely tacky with a lame plot. The only positive result we witnessed was during the release of Krrish and Krrish 3 which saw huge sums of money pumped into its special effects to give it an international flavour.

A learning lesson lies with the MCU films when budgets of such films are concerned. Of the 19 films (released till date) which came from the stable of MCU, not all had excellence plastered over them. Some were truly below average, especially the initial ones but one thing which really tilted things in their favour was the fact that they had world class special effects which sort of covered most of their loopholes. Even the average ones made truckloads of money at the box office. Bhavesh Joshi Superhero had an uphill task to match and even when the trailer was launched it offered nothing new to the audience. Right from the film’s idea of its superhero being a local hero to CGI effects to its plot and most importantly, lack of a defined villain gave a feeling that Bhavesh Joshi Superhero was a tepid affair.

Harshvardhan Kapoor in a still from Bhavesh Joshi Superhero. Eros Now

Harshvardhan Kapoor in a still from Bhavesh Joshi Superhero. Eros Now

Unlike India, in the West, superheroes have been integral to the popular culture for decades. The amount of love that is showered on such characters is unprecedented to say the least, whereas in India, the culture of superheroes is yet to penetrate both films and the cultural mindset. Hundred years of Indian cinema is a living proof that Indian audiences do not give two hoots about superheroes. It is only now that the culture is slowly seeping in but the impetus has surely been provided by superheroes from the West. Also, why superheroes of Hollywood have an edge over their desi counterparts could be attributed to the fact that while Bollywood remains a local affair, the reach of Hollywood transcends the borders of America. One thing that went largely against Motwane’s film is the fact that there have never been instances when people have loved and followed local heroes on celluloid. The packaging that involves in the presentation of superheroes of the Western world is too enticing which in turn has helped them create a die-hard global fan base. Indian filmmakers have neither experimented in this direction nor have the resources to execute such a thing.

The socio-cultural aspect related with our comic superheroes is so much that they still are considered materials to be read only by children. The very thought has proven to be the biggest obstacle in creating what could have been a huge money spinner standalone industry. Every scene and every plot point of Bhavesh Joshi Superhero was scrutinised and compared to its Hollywood counterpart. Why? Because Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2 are still playing in theatres. A word of advice for filmmakers who plan to dabble into the world of superheroes – look for a banner which is extremely cash rich. Else, junk the plan.

Updated Date: Jun 06, 2018 11:33:58 IST