Bollywood stars are known for their immense fan following, unparalleled influence and their guaranteed box office returns. One of the biggest stars in the industry—Salman Khan fits this description like no one else. His mere presence in any film is often seen as a sure fire way of delivering a massive hit. However, his latest film Tubelight has turned this long established trend upside down.
The most surprising element is that Tubelight was an Eid release. If we look at the track record of Salman Khan’s movies that have released on Eid, in 2015 Bajrangi Bhaijaan directed by Kabir Khan entered the Rs 300 crore club as did his film Sultan in 2015. In 2014 his Eid release Kick went on to earn Rs 230 crore while Eka Tha Tiger, which was released during Eid in 2012, earned Rs 200 crore.
If we compare these numbers with Tubelight, which was expected to break all previous records, the reality is completely different. In fact, the movie struggled to even cross the Rs 100 crore mark. It did so on its 11th day post release, while Sultan reached this figure in only three days and so was the case with Bajrangi Bhaijaan which collected Rs 100 crore in the opening weekend itself.
One of the inherent flaws with Tubelight’s marketing has been its promos, which failed to excite the audience. Also, the very fact that Salman Khan has been cast as a somewhat ‘weak protagonist’ has not clicked with his fans says Atul Mohan, Editor-in-Chief, Complete Cinema.
“Normally you just need one announcement for the Salman starrer to become hit and Eid has always been synonymous with a Salman Khan film. However, the content in the case of Tubelight promos was disappointing. The biggest flaw was to show the actor, who has a large-than- life persona, as a dumb character. Though in Bajrangi Bhaijaan his role was premised on a simple character too, but it worked because the content was strong and it was promoted in an effective manner. With Tubelight both Salman and Kabir Khan got carried away thinking they could experiment with Salman’s persona again,” stated Mohan.
According to Rahul Puri, Managing Director, Mukta A2 Cinemas, the marketing campaign of Tubelight was not built on the first trailer, which confused the audience. He also stated that the critical element of good music was missing from the film, which eventually led to its current fate.
“Tubelight perhaps suffered from a lack of well-promoted music. There was really only the one song that was promoted well and for Salman’s films music is such a key aspect. I do think though that the promotion campaign also never really built on the first trailer that was released. Therefore the film seemed to be showing you again and again parts of the story that previous trailers had already revealed. This may have confused the audience into thinking the film was something it was not,” commented Puri.
Tubelight is based on the Hollywood film Little Boy and stars Chinese actress Zhu Zhu and eight-year-old Matin Rey Tangu. The film released in over 4,000 theaters across India and in more than 1,000 overseas on June 23 and also features Shah Rukh Khan in a cameo role.
“The content of the film failed to raise any interest right from the point when the promo was released. The way Salman was portrayed was a put off for his fans who actually chose to stay away from such portrayal of their super hero. The movie was released despite this lack of excitement and the verdict is before us,” added Mohan.