Last week on Wednesday we saw the release of Kalank. Directed by Abhishek Varman, the film starring Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Sanjay Dutt, Madhuri Dixit, Sonakshi Sinha and Aditya Roy Kapur released across 4000 screens in the domestic market. This wide release coupled with the five day extended weekend was expected to propel the film well past the Rs. 100 cr mark by the end of its opening weekend. However, contrary to expectations, Kalank managed to draw in just Rs. 66.03 cr by the end of its opening weekend. If the drop in business over the film’s opening weekend wasn’t enough, the business of Kalank on its first Monday witnessed an even more drastic dip with the collections being pegged at Rs. 3.25 cr. Following this with Tuesday slipping even further to Rs. 3 cr, the total business of Kalank is pegged at Rs. 72.28 cr. Looking at this dismal box office performance, we at Bollywood Hungama spoke to a few leading Bollywood trade analysts to understand what went wrong with the film.
In our efforts to understand what issues plagued Kalank, we came across myriad reasons from the story of the film coming across as dated, to the lack of connect it developed with the audience and even the lack of catchy music that went a long way in denting the film’s business. Explaining the same Amod Mehra says, “The concept of Kalank itself was not a feasible one. There were too many things being shown at the same time. Like there was a love story, India – Pakistan partition, internal rivalry and what not. Because of this there was no real focus on any one thing in particular, and the whole thing came across as pretty superficial and dumb.” Further talking about another factor that affected the business of Kalank, Mehra adds, “The lengthy runtime of the film and the long drawn out climax were also factors that widened the disconnect between the film and the audience.”
While Mehra stated that it was obvious that the film had plenty of flaws, trade analyst Taran Adarsh summed the same in just three points. “Weak writing, the lack of hit music and an over stretched runtime are what did the film in.” Similarly film exhibitor and distributor Raj Bhansal too sums up the flaws saying, “The script of the film was the main flaw, the entire story came across as dated. No one wants to see the story of an illegitimate child in today’s age when content driven films are what the audience wants. Because of this, the audience did not take a liking to the film. Apart from this, the length and the music too were dampeners”. Echoing a kindred ideology, Girish Johar too brought up the overly lengthy runtime of Kalank while also pointing out that the film appeared souless, “The story of Kalank did not establish an emotional connect with the audience, besides the rather dated structure of the plot was a major flaw since viewers are not keen on watching a story like that.”
Though each of the Bollywood trade experts we spoke to echoed a somewhat similar thought about what went wrong with Kalank, we prodded further to see if this new box office debacle will prove to be a ‘kalank’ on Varun Dhawan’s career chart. “Varun Dhawan was good in the film and he has done well in his role. But he has to pay attention to the films he is picking up”, says Amod Mehra. Further adding, “Varun has now made a niche for himself as a halfway between Salman Khan and Govinda. He needs to pay attention so he does not get stereotyped in such roles.”
Even though Varun Dhawan has created a niche for himself, is the actor lagging behind his contemporaries like Ranbir Kapoor and Ranveer Singh is another question that crops up. However, Bhansal is quick to dismiss this saying, “Ranbir and Ranveer are not contemporaries for Varun. He is in a league by himself… While Ranbir and Ranveer are doing what they are good at, Varun excels in films like the Badrinath series. So no he isn’t lagging behind.”
Despite his optimism, Bhansal does say that Varun needs to carefully pick films, “Varun is his own contemporary but that does not mean he should do every film that comes his way. He needs to pick his projects carefully, ones that cater to his forte and expertise.”
Well, after taking stock of what the experts have to say, we guess though Kalank did not perform as expected at the box office, the film did see Varun make an impression. While the film itself might be a Kalank for its makers, it certainly isn’t one for Varun Dhawan.