Actor Anupam Kher responded to statements made by director Anurag Kashyap about the ongoing boycott campaigns against major Bollywood films. While he initially began by saying that he wouldn’t want to ‘legitimise’ the filmmaker’s comments by responding to them, he eventually offered his own take on the growing concerns in the film industry.
In an earlier interview, Anurag had said that audiences are staying away from cinemas not because they want to boycott a film, but because they no longer have purchasing power due to an economic slump in the country. Asked about these comments in an interview with RJ Siddharth Kannan, Anupam Kher said, “Why should I legitimise his statement by answering that question? It’s not important for me what he think, it’s not important what he believes. This country gives him complete freedom of speech, and he exercises that. But he has been proven wrong.”
The actor continued, “You can’t find plane tickets these days, you can’t buy tickets for good films because the halls are packed. Malls and five-star hotels are overflowing with people. The parking lots are full, roads are jammed with cars. What does he mean there’s no money? People are just spending intelligently.” Anupam Kher said that the pandemic opened audiences to different kinds of cinema, and that the Hindi film industry should try to change itself instead of blaming the audience.
In 2022, several major Bollywood films have bombed at the box office, provoking introspection within the film industry on both creative and financial fronts. While the lines between streaming and theatrical have only been highlighted by the pandemic, investors are also reassessing the huge fees paid to stars who aren’t able to pull audiences to theatres anymore.
Anurag had told News18, “People want to go and watch good cinema. I agree there are a few good films in the recent past which haven’t worked but one should also understand that we are going through an economic slump in the country. Basic things like biscuits and paneer are being taxed today. Do you think people will buy expensive tickets of a film until they are sure that the film will entertain them?”
Anupam’s The Kashmir Files remains one of 2022’s biggest Hindi language hits, alongside Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 and Gangubai Kathiawadi. Anurag had said in an interview that he hopes the film isn’t selected as India’s official entry to the Oscars this year.