On Thursday at my screening of Bhool Bhulaiya 2 I had invited 20-30 people. 200 people showed up. There were little kids and their grandparents. They had all come for only one reason: Kartik Aaryan. There was loud laughter and clapping during the screening.
At the end of the show there were happy people all around me. A little girl who couldn’t be more than 6 years old came to me and said, “Uncle, please invite me for the next Kartik Aaryan film.”
Kartik’s popularity is beyond anything I’ve seen in recent times. His contemporaries pale into insignificance . In spite of their peacock antics to stay in the limelight , how many of the so-called A-listers command an actual fan following? One of them Ranveer Singh had a release last week.It didn’t even get an opening.
Bhool Bhulaiya 2 was an important film , not only for Kartik. The doomsdays prophets of dwindling profits were writing epitaphs for the Mumbai film industry. They were talking about the ‘Southern invasion’ in much the same way as an alien invasion. The last we checked, South India was very much a part of India. So how is Pushpa or KGF an invasion? It’s not like Genghis Khan plundering a foreign country.
As for Bollywood, it has survived worse adversities than the current slump.Give the patrons what they want, and they will come to the theatres. Bhool Bhulaiya2 proves it.
Bhool Bhulaiya2 is not only a victory for Mumbai’s much-maligned commercial cinema ; it is also the triumph of the outsider.When Kartik Aaryan came into film industry he was Kartik Tiwary: earnest, eager to make an impact and ready to work hard. Luv Ranjan found Kartik reaching out on Facebook and cast him as one of the protagonists along with Divyendu Sharma and Raayo S. Bakhirta.
Who was to know that only one of the trio would get a shot at stardom? Director Luv Ranjan had no idea it would be Kartik. “To me he was as important as the other two. In Pyaar Ka Punchnaama I launched three heroes. I had no idea Kartik would move so far ahead.What I did know was that he had the drive , the will to excel.”
Kartik had no connections in Mumbai. He didn’t have Karan Johar’s or Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s phone number. He didn’t even have their chauffeur’s number. But he had a lot of faith in his own abilities.And he was willing to take the humiliation that comes with the struggle .He stayed in a flat with 12 other strugglers and paid the rent by cooking for them.He has never glorified his days of struggle, never bragged about sleeping on railway station and going hungry for days, although he has experienced both.
Stardom didn’t come easily to this outsider. But when it rained, it poured. After Bhool Bhulaiya 2 Kartik Aaryan is very close to achieving his goal of becoming No.1. It hasn’t been easy for the outsider. But stardom feels so much more satisfying and pleasurable when you have earned it.