Alia Bhatt starrer Gangubai Kathiawadi is receiving positive reviews and clocking crores at the box office. Reportedly the movie which was released on February 25, has collected Rs 10 crore on the opening day and the movie has claimed Rs 38.5 crore on the first weekend. Alia who played the central role in the biographical crime drama is receiving rave reviews for her immaculate acting performance. The brand value of Alia Bhatt is estimated to be $48.0 million. She is the brand ambassador of more than a dozen brands- Flipkart, Make My Trip, Kopiko, Duroflex, and more. According to industry experts, the latest release is said to further increase Alia’s brand value and with many women-centric movies being a blockbuster it will encourage the film makers to focus more on casting female actors in the lead role.
“Sanjay Leela Bhansali through his films has always triggered the brand value of his cast, pivoting them to a completely different paradigm. Alia is a fabulous brand anyway, it will only move northwards with movies like Gangubai,” observes Harikrishnan Pillai, CEO and Co-founder, TheSmallBigIdea.
According to Kranti Khanderkar – Founder, ShyBuzz, “Alia Bhatt has already shown her talent in some movies like Raazi, Highway, Udta Punjab and Dear Zindagi among them. The Gangubai film could well be her best if the buzz around the film is any indication. With Sanjay Leela Bansali’s track record of bringing the best out of female leads and doing justice to women-centric characters, it won’t be a surprise if this movie is a landmark for Alia which could establish herself as among the best in the industry. Bodes well for female-oriented movies and thereby the industry as a whole.”
“Most of Alia Bhatt’s movies have been women-centric and have also done well. While I have not seen the movie yet, gauging from her choice of movies, and her calibre, if it touches audiences, it will definitely propel the lead actor further,” said N. Chandramouli – CEO, TRA RESEARCH.
According to Vijeth Mulki – Founder-Director, Vijmax Films, Gangubai Kathiawadi has already taken a huge opening and with the lockdown being almost lifted it will give a boost to the box office collection of the film.
“The box office and other revenues of the film will catapult the film to a super hit status and take Alia to the top position. With this film, Alia has shown that she can play a wide range of characters from an urban stylish girl to a character like Gangubai from the 1950s. This will hugely boost her brand image,” Mulki added.
Over the past few years, the rise of several women-centric movies from Bollywood and other regional languages have left a strong impact on society and the movie industry. Earlier women were mostly cast as arm-candy but recently with strong, bold, dignified and powerful roles they have proved that they are neck to neck with men. With many women-centric movies being a blockbuster will it boost the filmmakers to focus more on such kinds of movies?
“While the tradition of women-centric movies is not new (consider Mother India, for instance), mainline cinema, afraid to experiment, has mostly played women in second fiddle roles to men. Slightly off-centre movie successes like Queen, have shown potential when women play a central character in movies. Further with the rise of OTT, where many women-centric movies have become hits (Gunjan Saxena, Aarya for example), mainstream cinema is also bringing out bigger better movies with women in the central lead. When better movies get made, the crowd is an automatic consequence,” observes N. Chandramouli.
Khanderkar remarked, “The rise of female actors as crowd pullers has been made possible because of great content. Great content executed by a good script, including the skill of the technical team, and of course great performance from the cast, especially the female leads. The rise of OTT platforms and their focus on good films have also brought in greater exposure to female-centric films, making actresses more bankable and superstars in their own right, who can carry the film along with suitable supporting characters. When women-centric films work well, there is a trend for more movies to be made hoping to ride the wave of successes. Here again, the movies made well will add to the momentum gained. With calculated and well thought out stories being told; women-centric movies can become a mainstay rather than just a short-lived phenomenon.”
Vijeth Mulki said, “This is a very positive sign and also opens up a huge market for filmmakers and creates more job opportunities for all involved in the making, distribution and release of a film. India has a lot of stories of female achievers untold and waiting to be tapped. We will see a rise in such movies and the latest one to release this year will be Tapsee Pannu as Mithali Raj, the captain of Indian Women’s Cricket Team.”
Jagdeep Kapoor – Founder-Chairman and Managing Director, Samsika Marketing Consultants Pvt. Ltd. observed, “Female actors as crowd pullers have been there in movies for many decades. Whether it be Mother India or Aandhi or English Vinglish or Neerja or Chandini Bar or Mardani or The Dirty Picture or Bandit Queen or Damini or Fashion or Raazi. That trend continues. And that trend will continue. Filmmakers want hits and blockbusters. If a woman-centric movie delivers that, they will surely launch such movies. The movie theme has to be relevant, the story compelling and the actor convincing.”
Ambarish Ray – Co-Founder & CEO, Digital Dogs Content & Media, stated, “With movies and content like Queen, 7 Khoon Maaf, Lipstick Under My Burkha, Gulaab Gang, Pink and Dedh Ishqiya among several others, the industry is booming with strong female actors and characters who are constantly transforming the orthodox or even dated mindsets of several Indians, every day. As audiences are becoming more evolved, thanks to the influence of the melted world cultures and new voices, movies with women portraying strong characters as leads positively attract large crowds in the country. It’s not just about the strong, in-your-face performances. The subtle, minimalist female character is also turning heads in the country, like in the movie Piku, for instance.”
He further added, “Though it is encouraging to have women-centric movies receive a great response, the kind of movies that a filmmaker decides to make depends on many factors like the need of the hour, recent events, the budget that he/she intends to spend and it gets even more technical. Yet again, the success that such movies get acts as a catalyst for other filmmakers. One of the most important factors I believe is the response – not just from the box office or sub rates but from the larger socio-cultural space as well. Creative professionals need to hear back and get encouragement from their audiences.”