Mohnish Bahl played Balaji Baji Rao in Panipat.
Mohnish Bahl played Balaji Baji Rao in Panipat.

Mohnish Bahl: ‘I don’t know why Panipat didn’t work, I liked it’

Mohnish Bahl, who played Balaji Baji Rao in Panipat, says he thought Panipat was a good film and doesn’t know why it didn’t click with the audiences.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Rishabh Suri, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 29, 2020 08:14 AM IST

Actor Mohnish Bahl might belong to the old school of cinema, where a film’s success would be judged primarily on the number of days it ran in theatres, rather than the first weekend collections, but he gives equal importance to the latter.

The actor was last seen playing the role of Balaji Baji Rao in Panipat, which was a commercial letdown. Mohnish says, “Commercial success is so much more important. Kya hota hai, picture chalti hai, toh sab kuchh achha chalta hai. But when the film doesn’t work, even good reviews would just take you that far. I am happy that the journalist community appreciated this presentation, that’s not what they have been used to seeing for a long time.”


Directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar, the film was recently declared tax-free in Maharashtra. “Kind of late,” pat comes the reply from the 58-year old, “I don’t know why it didn’t work, I can’t put my finger on it, I liked the film. Sometimes, when you are part of a project, you lose the audiences’ point of view.”

On why box-office collections always matter, he draws a comparison to the 1980s and 90s and says how such things are more important now. “Earlier it was the number of days, silver and golden jubilees, but the budgets for films are higher now. In our time, one producer made three films, I used to work in two out of those three. Now, two-three producers make one film. The result is that the number of films being made has drastically reduced. The kind of investment hinging on box office is much more today than it was in my time,” he explains.

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The risks, says Mohnish, are also higher now because of the money involved. “In those days, video piracy had just started coming in. Just before that, every film covered it’s cost unless it went out of hand. Audiences had only theatres to go to, there was limited form of entertainment available. Today, that’s not the case. You have all sorts of entertainment in your hands. Going to theatre costs minimum of five thousand bucks (with family). The stakes are higher thus,” the actor concludes.

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