GD Monday – ‘There Is No Winning ‘Formula’ For A Bollywood Film Anymore’

Welcome to Week 4 of GD Monday!

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To View and Comment on Week 3 of GD Monday – The MBA Selection Process Is Biased In Favour Of Extroverts, Please click here.

As 2016 draws to a close, a cursory glance through the list of the most successful Bollywood films of this year tells us that a wide variety of films have found fortune and favour at the box office this year.
Sports films (Dangal, MS Dhoni, Sultan, Saala Khadoos), Dramas based on real life incidents (Airlift, Neerja, Rustom), Issue-based films (Udta Punjab, Pink, Aligarh), Urban dramas (Kapoor and Sons, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Dear Zindagi), Action/Adventure flicks (Shivaay, Mohen Jo Daro, Wazir) – all have been received well by the Indian audiences.
The old adage of breaking down a successful Bollywood film to the presence of a big star, a quirky villain, a damsel in distress, an item song and an exciting climax has been subverted time and again in the last few years.

Is it, then, fair to say that there is no winning ‘formula’ for a Bollywood film anymore? Will any well-made film do well? If yes, what are the contributing factors and implications for the industry? If no, bring out the inherent formula you still think exists. And why is it that you think only particular kind of films can do well with the Indian audiences?And What are your views on it? Share your thoughts below!


This is how it will work:

1) Users can post their arguments in the comments section below by logging in through their User id.

2) You can argue and counter-argue on the topic for the entire week. You can even challenge your friends and make it more interesting!

3) The thread will be moderated by Team InsideIIM to ensure the discussion is kept relevant and is not abusive.

4) On Saturday, experts and industry professionals at InsideIIM (all ex-IIM, XLRI, MICA only) will rate each argument on the thread on the scale of 10 with some guidance.

This cannot replace the experience of the actual GD but this exercise will surely help you shape your line of thought. While we may not be able to help you here with your delivery, we ensure that if you go through these next few weeks with us on this thread you will markedly improve your content. Hopefully, there will be more substance when you actually speak in a GD after going through this exercise.


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Veronica Dixit

Yes, I would agree by saying that there is no winning formula for films anymore…cause now people are subjected with diverse genres of films competing with each other to make a mark of its own and people are wanting to invest their hard earned money on film which is filled with an amazing content complemented with equal dose of entertainment making it worth their penny. Recent example would be of two films viz Dilwale starring shah rukh khan and Bajirao mastani, ranveer-deepika starrer; both the films clashed with each other, one being a family entertainer with superstars like shah rukh and kajol whereas other was a rather niche historical drama. But, eventually the film with a better content took away audience’s praise while other inspite of having all factors of (so called)hit film like item songs, best romantic pair as well as all-time hit director failed to rose upto audiences expectations.


5/10 – Good energetic start to the GD. However, your articulation needs a lot of work. Also, the two films you mentioned seemed similar in comparison – Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone are also big stars. However, your point on content is well taken. The analysis with numbers would have been more helpful.

Samir Alam

1950s is considered as the Golden Age of Bollywood not only because of the stars such as Ashok Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar giving exceptional performances but also because of the varieties of movie that were made in that era. Movies such as Awara, Mother India , Pyaasa, Do Beegha Zameen etc. made on different issues relevant to the society gave bollywood an International acclaim. After this era the relevance of content started decreasing and star power became more important in most of the movies barring few such as arth, aanand aur saaransh. In 1990s this trend became more dominant with movies such as Khiladi Series or No. 1(hero,Bibi etc.) Series but in 90s only there was a slow change in trend on how movies were made earlier in bollywood. Sekhar Kapoor’s Bandit Queen was one example. In 2000s along with the popular bhai movies there were a new breed of directors like Farhan Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap, Tighmansu Dhulia etc who started experimenting with realistic Cinema and this revived the 50s era once again with a modern outlook. With Gangs of Wasseypur the myth was broken that a critically acclaimed movie won’t be appreciated by masses. It is one of the highest rated movies on IMDB. All this factors led to 2016 which was a delight for cinema lovers because now directors are less afraid of experimenting and a well made film surely finds an audience because now audience has a different mindset and knows that a movie without stars can also be good if there is a good story and screenplay. The crore crossing formula still exists which includes item songs and star power but this is not stopping others to experiment with new ideas.

Team Insideiim

7.5/10 – A very well articulated analysis. The historical context given makes it interesting for the panel and tells them about your thought process and knowledge about the subject. The only thing missing here is a bit of statistics to make the argument water tight.


I think this is not completely true. If we see there are many movies such as ki & ka, mohenjodaro and many more which had good content, great casts and all that is needed in a movie to make it hit among audiences. But if we see they have not been able to put an affect on the audiences. So we can’t say that there is no winning formula to follow for Bollywood movies. Now if we see the winning formula that the movies like sultan, dangal and udta Punjab followed was their content which had some relation with everyday living of the common people. Also the major part of the audiences nowadays are young generation who are more inclined towards biopic. And recent times have shown that the biopics are the trending.

Team Insideiim

3.5/10 – The argument seems to be all over the place without making a clear point. There is no evidence to show that young people like bio-pics – if there is you need to state it with facts to make this claim. Also, which stats tell you that major part of audience is young generation or that it wasn’t the case before the current times?

shefalika pandey

Bollywood has come a long way since most of the hit films being dominated by a couple of popular actors and a typical love story with some great dance numbers. The audience has evolved and so has the film industry. The acceptance of films that deal with social issues as well as biographies is a proof that the audience is now more accepting of experimentation and Bollywood can take it as a green signal to move beyond the stereotype. The past years have seen movies such as pink which deals with position of women in society as well as sarabjit and ms dhoni which are about individuals, become a major hit. Movies now don’t need a big star cast to reach out to the audience. What seems more likely is that people are now looking for something substantial in a movie rather than just seeing their favourite actors in a predictable and stereotypical role. Movies that are like a slice of life such as zindagi na milegi dubara are being applauded by the audience like never before. However, the effect of the star cast remains to some extent which is evident from the fact that all of the movies of salman khan are major grocers in the first day of release, regardless of the story. However, on the whole, Bollywood is certainly moving towards making movies not just forms of entertainment but also something that the audience can connect to and can take away something from it.

Team Insideiim

6.5/10 – Well articulated and there seems to be proper flow of the argument with logic. However, if you are the fourth to speak in the GD and you repeat what someone has already mentioned then you will lose points. You need to also support your claims with data not only in this GD but any GD.

Team Insideiim

No one seems to have done any research on the role of multiplexes, the fact that the film industry was given an ‘industry’ status only recently, the role of the internet and diverse content availability on multiple platforms and devices, the impact of higher quality content from across the world on content made in India. People should also look at some online sources to compare movie performance in terms of box office numbers to support their arguments.