Adipurush is a case study in how a much-hyped film can open to huge numbers at the box office worldwide, but can whimper away the following week because of a negative word-of-mouth. (Also Read: Adipurush box office day 6 collection: Change in dialogues yet to control Prabhas film’s free fall)
Om Raut’s epic adventure film, an interpretation of Ramayana, starring Prabhas as Raghav (based on Ram), Kriti Sanon as Janaki (Sita), and Saif Ali Khan as Lankesh (Ravana), registered an impressive advance booking total, but as the initial momentum faded, it’s now witnessing a free fall at the box office.
Here are the possible reasons why Adipurush crashed at the box office:
As soon as the first reactions surfaced on Friday, the viewers were both enraged and amused by the film’s dialogues, written by National Film Awards-winning lyricist Manoj Muntashir.
The cringeworthy dialogues included lines like ‘tere bua ke bageeche se’ and ‘ ‘uski Lanka laga denge.’ But the one that caught everyone’s attention and ire was Bajrang (based on Hanuman) mouthing a comeback in tapori language, “Kapda bhi tere baap ka, tel bhi tere baap ka, aag bhi tere baap ki, aur jalegi bhi tere baap ki.”
After dialogues like these received widespread flak, Manoj and the makers of Adipurush decided to revise the language in the contentious dialogues in order to respect the public sentiment. The corrected dialogues surfaced on some screenings on Wednesday, with the word ‘baap’ being replaced with ‘Lanka.’
When the first teaser of Adipurush was released last year on Gandhi Jayanti, October 2, it was widely panned for its substandard VFX. Om Raut pushed the release date from the first week of January to the mid of June in order to upgrade the VFX.
But the final result is not very different from the first teaser. Adipurush is still being criticised for its cartoonish VFX, in contrast to the relatively cutting-edge special effects of Ayan Mukerji’s supernatural film Brahmastra, that released in September last year.
Miscasting of Prabhas
Many viewers and critics alike have objected to the casting of Telugu superstar Prabhas as Raghav in Adipurush. While the actor was the face of SS Rajamouli’s historic Baahubali franchise, the titular role suited him because the story was set in south India.
But Ramayana is a different ballgame. Loyalists claimed Prabhas didn’t command the mix of simplicity and reverence that say, an Arun Govil did in Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan. Some like actor Mukesh Khanna even objected to the moustache on Ram, claiming Vishnu’s avatars like Ram and Krishna never had moustache.
Interpretation of Ramayana
Adipurush begs the question: Did we really need another interpretation of Ramayana so soon? Ramanand Sagar’s iconic interpretation, a TV series that aired on Doordarshan in the 1980s, was recently re-telecast during the first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020. The series still stood the test of time as people stuck at home congregated to watch Ramayan.
Setting up of expectations
A trade source spelled out the primary reason behind the failure of Adipurush at the box office, saying, “This film was doomed right from when its campaign began a couple of years ago. When Saif Ali Khan said something controversial about Ravana, Om Raut and makers went on an overdrive in the reverse direction and claimed responsibility for protecting public sentiment. Right before the release, they even asked theatre owners to reserve a seat for Lord Hanuman! So people assumed they have aastha (faith) and will not let them down. But right after the film released and started getting criticised, the makers disowned it. They claimed it as just an interpretation of Ramayana, whereas before the release, they were claiming it to be the definitive retelling of the epic. Now, they’re changing dialogues, reducing ticket prices to ₹150, but the fact is they’ve already been rejected by the people of India.”