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Cult films or commercially successful films: What does an actor/ star aspire for

Every actor worth his grain who may be immensely commercially successful aspires for a film which is critically acclaimed and establishes his or credentials as a performer par excellence. It has been there from the time, cinema made its debut, and the trend continues even to this day. It is more so pertinent in the case of female stars of the present times, who when they start reaching the wrong side of the age yearn and aspire for 'that' film which would become a cult film and establish them as one of the vital signposts in the cinematic oeuvre and history of the country.

Well, the trend has become more so pertinent in the present times, but it had its reverberations in the past as well. Remember KAGAZ KE PHOOL, a film that destroyed Guru Dutt, is a cult film and subsequently whenever it was re-released the audience thronged to soak in the ambience, or for that matter Raj Kapoor's MERA NAAM JOKER that broke him and forced to make BOBBY to recoup his investments. 

Indeed, the cult films are a commercial disaster at the box office, still actors continue to aspire for it, even a Shah Rukh Khan did PAHELI which was a commercially disastrous venture, or Big B's AGNEEPATH, never was a commercial success, but it is rated as one of his finest films. Or for that matter BLACK which is a cult film of Hindi cinema, though it was not a commercially successful film, but both for Rani Mukherjee and Big B it is one of the vital success flag posts in their respective careers. 

When the chronicler chronicles the moments of disruption in cinematic oeuvre it is these films which are factored into. No wonder, the urge to do one such film in a career is always there. But is it a rule or an exception? Well, Salman Khan is an exception, as his is a career which is shot through and through with commercial ingredients, but then he is Salman Khan, otherwise even an Aamir Khan whenever he is talked about as an actor, is invariably talked in context of a HOLI, a RAAKH or a DHOBI GHAT, as also a TAARE ZAMEEN PAR and a LAGAN at times. 

May be, the over commercialization of cinema in the present times, and cinema now being more of a marketing exercise than selling emotions, the so-called cult films have become a discounted commodity, even then the believers continue to persevere. 

The trend that has changed over the years is in the fact that first the stars cultivate, nurture and nourish there commercial proposition and subsequently try to pander to the category of critically acclaimed films as well. It was not the trend earlier, and one example would underline the maxim. The kind of films that Dharmendra had done in his earlier days, still are one of his best films, and they are critically acclaimed films incidentally. 

Cinema is a fine balance between being a film that gives a food for thought to the critics and tries to attain commercial success as well, and the balance is presently tilted in the favour of commercially successful films. The moot point is whether the commercially successful films could be counted as cult films or not in the present scenario, or specifically whether RA.ONE be counted as a cult film as it has been one of the best efforts to present a futuristic film, or should ROCK ON be accorded the status as it is going to unravel the journey of a boy from Haryana aspiring to break the glass ceiling to establish his footprints in a genre like rock music?


Nazriya Nazim

Pooja Hegde

Karan Kundrra

Shehnaaz Gill

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