Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone‘s much-awaited action thriller Fighter, directed by Siddharth Anand, released on January 25, 2024, amid high expectations. The film, which revolves around the Indian Air Force and its conflict with Pakistan, was touted as the first big-star Hindi entertainer of the year.
However, the film failed to impress the masses, and registered a drop in its box office collection. What is important to note that film registered poor advance booking which meant that audience was never interested in the film post trailer itself. The film has barely managed to cross the Rs 150 crore mark in its extended first week of 8 days, which is a disappointing figure for a film with such a huge budget and star cast. Film might fail to cross lifetime business of director Siddharth Anand and Hrithik Roshan’s a decade old film Bang Bang.
So, what went wrong with Fighter? Here are five possible reasons why the film did not fly high:
- Poor music: One of the main attractions of even an action film is its music, especially when it features popular stars like Hrithik and Deepika. Last two films of Siddharth Anand – Pathaan ant War were uplifted by chartbuster tracks which became rage. However, Fighter’s music was a letdown, as none of the songs were catchy or memorable. The film also lacked a romantic duet between the lead pair, which could have added some charm to their chemistry. The item songs were also haphazardly inserted and did not gel with the mood of the film.
- India-Pakistan jingoism stale now: Fighter’s plot was heavily inspired by the real-life events of the 2019 Pulwama attack and the subsequent Balakot air strike, which sparked a wave of patriotic fervor in India. However, by 2024, the audience had seen enough of such films that glorified the Indian military and demonized Pakistan. Fighter did not offer anything new or nuanced in its portrayal of the conflict, and instead resorted to cliched dialogues and stereotypes. The film also faced a ban in several gulf countries, which affected its overseas business. Last film Tiger 3 also ended up with below par lifetime business due to unnecessary jingoism around Pakistan. Interestingly SRK’s Pathaan and Jawan both avoided India – Pakistan jingoism.
- Airplane action not for masses: Fighter’s main selling point was its spectacular aerial combat scenes, which were supposed to showcase the prowess of the Indian Air Force. However, the film’s CGI was not up to the mark, and the scenes looked flat and unrealistic. Moreover, the film’s target audience, the masses, did not connect with the technical jargon and the complex maneuvers of the fighter jets. The film also lacked the thrill and excitement of a ground-level massy action film with lots of hand to hand combat, which could have appealed to a wider audience.
- Weak character of villain: A good action film needs a strong and menacing villain, who can pose a serious threat to the hero. However, Fighter’s villain, Azhar Akhtar, played by Rishabh Sawhney, was a weak and one-dimensional character, who did not have any depth or motivation. He was simply a caricature of a terrorist leader, who hated India and wanted to destroy it. His scenes with Hrithik were also dull and predictable, and did not create any tension or suspense.
- Long runtime: Fighter’s runtime was 2 hours and 43 minutes, which was too long for a film of this genre. The film had many unnecessary scenes and subplots, which dragged the pace and bored the audience. The film also had a lot of product placement and propaganda, which distracted from the main story. The film could have been trimmed by at least 15-20 minutes, and made more crisp and engaging.
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