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After Manikarnika, Kangana Ranaut’s next directorial will be an epic action drama based on real-life story

After Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi, Kangana Ranaut has locked a script for her next directorial, an epic action drama based on a real-life story.

The film will be mounted on a large scale, but will be different from any other epic that has been made in recent times, the actor said in a statement.

After Manikarnika, Kangana Ranauts next directorial will be an epic action drama based on real-life story

“I’m on the verge of announcing my next directorial venture. It’s an action film, an epic drama. It has taken a lot of my time. Currently, we are putting everything in order, but we have locked the script. We will be doing a photoshoot, soon after, which we plan to release the poster, too,” said Kangana.

The actor feels great that female artistes are bringing a lot of business in the industry and believes it is the “right time” for her to start working on her second directorial project.

Kangana on 9 April wrapped up the shoot of Panga in New Delhi and will now head to Kolkata for the next leg. Apart from Panga, she also has Mental Hai Kya and Jayalalithaa biopic. She has also revealed that she will helm a film based on her life, written by Baahubali scriptwriter KV Vijayendra Prasad.

Badla, Total Dhamaal and Uri: The Surgical Strike’s box office success reinforces the power of word of mouth

Popular folklore in Hindi film trade suggests that nearly everyone in and around the Mumbai suburbs has a script to pitch. An updated version of this could very well be how nearly everyone not only in the Andheri-Versova belt, but across the country is a critic whose word counts when it comes to films. This can probably be seen in how potent a tool word of mouth has become in the success or failure of a film. Irrespective of the budget or the level of publicity, nearly every single film released in the first few weeks of 2019 reveals how word of mouth has played a significant role in the way it has performed at the box office.

In the world that existed before the multiplex era, the so-called smaller films relied heavily on word of mouth to survive a few weeks at the box office. This offered a sense of ‘visibility’ to the film and at times, actors even purchased all the tickets for a few weeks to create a buzz. Jeetendra had advance booked Farz (1969) for weeks, and his father who went to a cinema hall to watch his son’s film with the public was shocked to learn that the entire hall was empty despite a houseful sign. Later, curiosity saw people throng to the theatres and the film picked up. Unlike earlier, when positive reviews from the viewers would nudge a film a little in terms of ticket sales, like in the case of Sudhir Mishra’s Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin (1996) which became a small-time hit in the morning show slot, thanks to college students talking about it, off late, audience recommendation has begun to translate in a massive windfall in the box office collection, a trend more than visible in the case of Uri: The Surgical Strike, Total Dhamaal and Gully Boy.

Amidst the numerous parameters to gauge the success of a film, the opening weekend haul continues to be important but the manner in which films like Badhaai Ho (2018), a slow starter that benefitted immensely from the positive word, found themselves in the year’s top grosser list suggests a slight shift. A few years earlier, the Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar-starrer, Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015) also grew with the help of positive word of mouth and set the cash registers ringing. Similarly, Tanu Weds Manu (2011), Queen (2013) and The Lunchbox (2013) shifted gears once people began talking about them and urging more to catch them on the big screen. A recent illustration of the impact of this is how Uri: The Surgical Strike made more money in its second weekend than its opening weekend. The film’s collections refused to slow down, thanks to the manner in which people spoke about the film amongst themselves and it’s hardly surprising that the film not only raked in 243.50 crore (nett) but is also at present the year’s highest-grossing film.

The role of the informal word has only increased in the last few years. In 1999, studio executive Chris Pula relied on positive word of mouth as a marketing tool for Walt Disney Pictures’ The Sixth Sense and designed a campaign around the now iconic “I see dead people” quote by Haley Joel Osment to push people to talk about the film. The film had enjoyed glowing reviews from the critics but it was the audience that continued to talk about the film long after the people who left the cinema halls transformed the film into a word-of-mouth phenomenon that made US$ 672 million. A considerable bump in the collections of Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi, Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga, Gully Boy, and the more recent Luka Chuppi and Badla can also be squarely attributed to good word of mouth.

Badla-top-image-866x487-min

Word of mouth becomes a little more important in the age of social media. A study conducted as part of a School of Communication research course at Emerson College, Boston, Massachusetts, analysed thousands of tweets to show how buzz influences films. Remember how a tweet from Josh Trank publicly denouncing his own film, Fantastic Four (2015), sealed its fate?

What makes word of mouth a potent tool, which studios and production houses have finally come to realise, is that it’s the only way a film can overcome negative reviews. No one would have expected a Pyaar Ka Punchnama (2011) — which did not attempt to hide its blatant misogyny — to become a roaring success or Total Dhamaal to make a killing at the box office. Some would credit the star power of Ajay Devgn, Anil Kapoor, and Madhuri Dixit to be a factor at play in Total Dhamaal’s case but it can only get people to the screens for the opening weekend. In fact, the reason some of the biggest star-driven films underperformed last year – Shah Rukh-Anushka Sharma’s Zero, Salman Khan-Anil Kapoor’s Race 3 and Aamir Khan-Amitabh Bachchan-Katrina Kaif’s Thugs of Hindostan – also has to do with negative feedback from the audiences.

Manikarnika: Bombay HC refuses petition seeking stay on Kangana Ranaut film over alleged distortion of facts

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on 24 January refused to give relief to a lawyer seeking a stay on the release of film Manikarnika – The Queen of Jhansi on the ground that it wrongly depicted historical facts.

A still from Manikarnika teaser. YouTube screengrab

Advocate Vivek Tambe, who claims to be a fifth generation descendant of the family of Rani Laxmibai, the Queen of Jhansi, had moved the high court earlier this week claiming that the Kangana Ranuat-starrer had got several historical facts wrong.

According to the petitioner, the film shows the birth year of the queen of Jhansi as 1828.

However, her birth year was actually 1835, his plea said.

It further claimed that there are certain scenes which show that the queen suffered a miscarriage, which is not correct.

The producers of the film opposed the plea, saying the birth year was provided by historians and that there is no scene in the movie showing a miscarriage.

Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) counsel Advait Sethna told a division bench of Chief Justice N H Patil and Justice N M Jamdar Thursday that its examining committee has given due consideration before certifying the movie.

“A disclaimer has also been included in the movie saying certain elements have been dramatised and fictionalised and that it does not intend to hurt any person’s sentiments,” Sethna said.

The bench, after hearing the arguments, said it was not inclined to grant interim relief by way of staying the release of the film.

The court directed the producer to file their affidavit responding to the petition in two weeks.

The movie is slated for release on 25 January.

Ayushmann Khurrana’s wife Tahira Kashyap to debut as director with slice-of-life drama

Ayushmann Khurrana’s wife Tahira Kashyap will soon debut as a director with a slice-of-life drama set in Mumbai. Kashyap has previously helmed a short film Toffee, produced by Khurrana and casting director Mukesh Chhabra, according to Hindustan Times.

Ayushmann Khurrana with Tahira Kashyap. Twitter @Ayushmann_Team

The yet-to-be-titled film will be produced by T Series’ Bhushan Kumar and Ellipsis Entertainment’s Tanuj Garg and Atul Kasbekar. This project will mark the third collaboration between the production houses, after Suresh Triveni’s debut with Tumhari Sulu starring Vidya Balan and more recently, Soumik Sen’s second feature Cheat India with Emraan Hashmi in the lead.

A statement from the producers read: “Tahira has worn several hats…. from being the programming head of a radio station in the North to a theatre writer-director, author, teacher of mass communication and journalism, and short film-maker. Her incredible stories are rooted in realism and heart. We are delighted to back her debut journey and look forward to making many more movies with her.”

The casting for the upcoming film is ongoing and will be announced soon. The makers expect it to go into production in early 2019.

Meanwhile, Khurrana will be seen next as a visually impaired pianist in Sriram Raghavan’s (of Badlapur fame) neo-noir thriller Andhadhun. The film also stars Radhika Apte and Tabu in pivotal roles.