Last week, when Housefull 2 hit theatres, film critics lashed out, comparing the comedy to be the “cinematic equivalent of junk food” and “one for four-year olds”. But that didn’t stop Sajid Khan’s comic caper from raking in the moolah. The film brought in Rs 50 crore within just four days of its release. Also, it garnered the second best opening day collections of 2012 after Agneepath.
“Harsh film reviews are a part and parcel of the job. At the end of the day, no one loves a particular film in its entirety. Whether it’s Titanic, The Godfather, Avatar or 3 Idiots, a film is always the result of someone’s belief system. But I feel that everything boils down to how it fares at the box office. Success at box office is a test of whether a film has been accepted or not,” says Sajid.
Housefull 2’s first four days’ collections have exceeded the entire earnings brought in by Sajid’s own Heyy Babyy (2007). The film has also outdone its 2010 prequel Housefull’s first week exploits of Rs47 crore.
“I have always maintained that I don’t give a damn about critics. The collections are a big slap on their faces. For me, critics have zero value. I feel that only a person who buys a ticket to watch my film has the right to judge it: praise it or spit at it,” says Sajid, who is happy to score a hat trick with three successes in a row.
“I don't know how to react, but it feels good to have entered a very exclusive club in the world. I am happy that the film is a big success,” he says. Sajid also happens to be the second director in the last 20 years, besides Rajkumar Hirani, whose first three films have been blockbusters. Besides the duo, filmmakers Indra Kumar, Ramesh Sippy and Manoj Kumar also feature in the list.
“By now, audiences also know what to expect from my films. And even though I am not bragging, I know what works with audiences,” says Sajid, promising his next, Himmatwala, will be Ajay Devgn’s biggest hit of all time. “I’m sure Himmatwala will make R10 crore more than whatever business Housefull 2 eventually ends up doing. I am challenging myself.”
What critics say
When I review a film, I closely look at its aesthetics. And besides just analysing the film, I always aim to help audiences develop good taste in new and innovative cinema. But when you watch such comedy films, they hardly offer anything fresh. They all look the same in terms of their treatment.
Have filmmakers like Sajid Khan or Rohit Shetty ever promised that they are making a masterpiece of sorts? When I watch a film, it’s all about the entertainment it offers and nothing else. I look at any film from a common man’s point of view. If it can regale me and have my attention, it’s worth the audiences’ money.
Critic, Dainik Jagran
There’s no set rule to review a film. For instance, I review a film as per my upbringing and value system, which I believe will be same for my readers too. Entertainment is very important but it can’t stoop to a cheap and crass level. I blame Priyadarshan for starting the trend of making such comedy films.
‘Connect with the audiences is most important’
I fail to understand why critics target a certain kind of comedy film. There must be something right with such films because people connect with them. Sometimes, I feel critics are exposed to a lot of world cinema. But it must be understood that Indian sensibilities are different.
Earlier, I’d feel that a bad review would harm the business, but not any longer. Now, I know that even though my film might receive a single star, it could turn out to be a hit. For me, reviews don’t matter. It’s funny but I feel half of these critics want to become writers/directors themselves.
Critics judge films as per their sensibilities, but I’ve never bothered much about what they say. But at the same time, now I want to strike a balance between critical reception and box office success. Post-Grand Masti (my next film), I will make films that can please critics as well as audiences.
What should I say about critics? They write according to what they think. But film reviews have never bothered me much. Sometimes, I feel that they might be working with the logic that if they praise our kind of films, the discerning reader will doubt their ‘intelligence quotient’.