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Tragic endings abound; viewers relish it, makers collect moolah

Subhash K. Jha
14 July 2013

Mumbai, July 14 (IANS) Suddenly why are so many of our heroes cashing in their chips on the silver screen almost every other Friday? Filmmakers say tragedy is the reality of life and, presented in the right manner, it connects with the audience -- but they hasten to clarify that it is neither a new trend nor a success formula.

In "Aashiqui 2", Aditya Roy Kapoor's character drives himself to a drunken death at the end. The film was a blockbuster. In the haunting tragic hard hitting "BA Pass", the young hero played by debutant Shadab Kamal dies a wretched horrific death at the end.

And yes, in "Lootera" it is Sonakshi Sinha who is fatally ill, but it's Ranveer Singh who finally dies!

Writer Prasoon Joshi feels the grim side of life is inevitable to every individual's existence. "Tragedy is the reality for the majority. Sadness and dread are feelings we live with every day. Whenever tragedy is presented well it will connect with the audience," he said.

In June, two releases on the same Friday -- Aanand L. Rai's "Raanjhanaa" and Susi Ganesan's "Shortcut Romeo" -- both end with their heroes breathing their last before the finale.

They die for different reasons.

If in Vikramaditya Motwane's "Lootera", Ranveer, like Shah Rukh Khan in "Devdas" and Aditya in "Aashiqui 2", dies for love, in "BA Pass", the young hero dies for money.

Sob!

Coming up are a slew of films where the protagonists die at the end, and the distributors are poised to laugh all the way to the bank.

In Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Ram Leela", protagonists Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone are apparently killed at the end.

And if reliable sources are to be believed, Akshay Kumar in Milan Luthria's "Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Dobara", Amitabh Bachchan in Prakash Jha's "Satyagraha" and Saif Ali Khan in Tigmanshu Dhulia's "Bullett Raja" also perish at the end of the film.

So are unhappy endings back in vogue?

Protests trade expert Taran Adarsh: "But tragic endings never went out of vogue! The biggest love story of all times 'Mughal-E-Azam' had a sad ending. Later there were 'Ek Duuje Ke Liye' and 'Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak'. If one looks at 'Sholay', the Amitabh-Jaya track also had a tragic conclusion."

However, he agrees that tragic endings seem to be the flavour of the year. "Recently 'Aashiqui 2' has triggered off a trend for tragic endings. Now there is 'Raanjhanaa' as well."

"Issaq", Manish Tiwari's Varanasi-based take on Romeo and Juliet, would also see the protagonists come to a tragic end.

Tiwari feels the protagonists of every film come with their own destiny. "Each film undertakes a journey for different reasons," he argues.

However, according to Tiwari, the tragic outcome in the protagonists' lives is also a sign of the times.

"In today's times, when cynicism rules, it is very attractive to showcase stories of true love for the audience. And yet the authors of these love stories can't escape the harsh truth that true idealised love is an impossibility and have to settle for unhappy resolutions to the romance."

Rai recalls how during a screening of "Raanjhanaa" at Chandan cinema in Mumbai, the gatekeeper accosted him pleading: "Dhanush is not dead, right? He's only gone into a coma. He will be back in the sequel, right?"

"I had to unfortunately break his heart and tell him there is no sequel and Kundan, the character Dhanush played, is gone. My hero had to die. That's the life I saw for him," said Rai.

Filmmaker Ananth Mahadevan feels tragic endings are frowned upon for fear of hurting audiences' penchant for a good time.

"Tragic endings got a big boost from the success of K Balachander's 'Ek Duuje Ke Liye'. But filmmakers shied away from tragic endings fearing public rejection. Although 'Aashiqui 2', 'Raanjhanaa' and 'Shortcut Romeo' happened to be released together, I don't think tragic endings would catch on."

Producer Ramesh Taurani refuses to see tragedy as a formula.

"There is never a formula for a hit film. Films with tragic endings do well because they're good films. 'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani' has no tragic ending and it's the biggest hit of the year. Content is king."

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