Rohit Shetty successfully brought back the fashion of cop-drama films with Singham (2011), starring Ajay Devgn and then rebooted the Devgn’s character as Bajirao Singham in Singham Returns (2014). Then last year he came with Simmba, which had Ranveer Singh portray the character of Sangram Bhalerao, a corrupt-cop-turned-savior. Now his latest Sooryavanshi features Akshay Kumar as an ATS cop, who will take on the fight against terrorism, a global menace. Deservedly, the hype is building around Sooryavanshi, which, by the looks of it, may go on to do great numbers at the box office. Why wouldn’t it, when it has the enviable Rohit Shetty formula.
Looking at these films even from a distance, one can draw thematic similarities. Firstly, all three films work under the universal cinematic trope– adversity breeds strength– a notion that has global appeal. Secondly, these are the stories of an average middle-class man with a vendetta, which again is empathetic. Thirdly, injustice, revenge, sympathy and vigilante justice also emerge as overriding plot points, which are then dressed-up and presented with popular Hindi cinema’s song and romance sequences and high action martial arts, delivered with exaggerated effects. The quality of such cinema is certainly unmatched (cue South Indian cinema).
Also, there is the ever suppressed idea of standing-against-the-authority, something that everyone encounters on a daily basis. So, if a Simmba or a Bajirao Singham delivers it for us in the screening scheme of affairs, which affects our life in unimaginable ways outside of the theatre (cue fashion, dialogic verbal exchanges, glamour), the style of cinema itself acquires legitimacy from the audiences that want to indulge in it in a never-ending cycle of harmless entertainment.
The coming of Amitabh Bachchan as the angry young man, during the late 70s and early 80s (Deewar, Coolie), also revolved around the aforementioned circumstances, however, the theatrical experience of cinema was much more accessible to the lower classes then, as opposed to now when it’s largely an urban affair. In the process, it also brings uninhibited imagination and glamour to the forefront, something that is missing from Bollywood films of late.
The release of Shetty’s cop films also has a pattern and the huge box office collections can be credited to the tactical timing when it hits the screens. Singham Returns came out on Independence Day in 2014 and Simmba released on Christmas 2018. Sooryavanshi is planned as Eid 2020 release and these happen to be nationally celebrated holidays. What better way to celebrate a national event than watching a film in theatres, with family and friends, right?
Shetty’s films certainly pack a punch and he knows how to deliver it to the audiences at the right time. By the looks of the teaser poster, the film is already a hot property, across theaters, broadcast networks, and digital platforms, story and acting aside.