Going all out for action and slapstick

Aside from Golmaal Again, director Rohit Shetty is also responsible for some of the highest-grossing films in Indian cinema, such as Chennai Express (2013) and Dilwale (2015).
Aside from Golmaal Again, director Rohit Shetty is also responsible for some of the highest-grossing films in Indian cinema, such as Chennai Express (2013) and Dilwale (2015).PHOTO: ROHIT SHETTY FILMS

For the first time in Bollywood, a film franchise has made it to four films.

Golmaal Again, or Chaos Again, is the fourth in a series of comedy films that have all been massive commercial successes since the first in 2006. The series' international box-office performance is the sixth-highest among Indian film franchises, after the likes of Baahubali, Dhoom and Krrish.

Golmaal Again, directed by Rohit Shetty, is screening in Singapore. Never mind the mixed reviews, it has already raked in 112 crores (S$23.5 million) at home and overseas since opening last week during the Deepavali season, according to reports in Indian media.

In a recent interview with The Straits Times, Shetty, 44, says: "When I made the first Golmaal, we weren't even sure whether it was going to work or not - it was just a comedy film. Now it's been 10 years and we never thought it'd become so big."

His criteria for making a sequel are simple. "Most importantly, people should love the characters, and secondly, the film should do really well on satellite - by that, I mean on television," he says.

The Golmaal franchise revolves around the comic adventures of a group of friends played by Ajay Devgn, Arshad Warsi, Tusshar Kapoor, Shreyas Talpade and Kunal Khemu.

Shetty is no stranger to big films. He is responsible for some of the highest-grossing films in Indian cinema, such as Shah Rukh Khan-starrers Chennai Express (2013) and Dilwale (2015). The former raked in 423 crores, while the latter brought in 394 crores.

It helps that he is not one to shy away from playing to the masses. His films are the antithesis of arthouse cinema, preferring instead to go for plenty of adrenaline-pumping action, slapstick comedy and glamour.

He says he will probably continue making such big-budget action "masala" films, purely because of the positive response from the audience.

"There is a segment of people for this kind of cinema and I love to cater to them," he says.

Golmaal Again is no different, and he describes it as "grander and bigger" than its predecessors.

In an attempt to keep the series fresh, Shetty says he did not want to make "just another comedy film".

"So we have the horror element," he says. " There are a lot of special effects and I think kids are going to love that."

He insists that his films are not formulaic and hints that he faces the pressure of expectations from audiences.

"It becomes difficult after a while because there's a lot of expectation. There's a lot of responsibility because people have seen the earlier parts of it and they come with an expectation and you have to live up to it."

He is also unbothered that his film was released the same weekend as the Aamir Khan-produced musical drama Secret Superstar, in which the Bollywood megastar plays an extended cameo role.

"I don't see a competition with Secret Superstar because they are two different genres and the base of the audience is totally different," he says.

Will there be a Golmaal 5?

"It depends on Golmaal Again," he says. If the audience likes it, "then there'll definitely be a Golmaal 5".

•Golmaal Again is showing now at selected Golden Village Cinemas (City Square, Jurong Point, Tampines , Suntec City ,Yishun ,VivoCity and S-11 workers' dormitory) as well as Carnival Cinemas at Shaw Tower and Rex Cinemas at Golden Mile Tower.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2017, with the headline 'Going all out for action and slapstick'. Print Edition | Subscribe