Indian cinema bets high on thrillers for box-office adrenaline rush

By Durga Chakravarty
New Delhi, Aug 15 (IANS)
India’s film industry is fully loaded as it promises to extend the action-packed season with new thrillers that have become a most-favoured genre of movie makers who find in it a shortcut to the box-office.
The showbiz industry has ferreted out plots and storylines swinging around acts of valour, mystery, vivid action, legal drama, whodunit crime and white-knuckled suspense — salted and peppered with cliff-hanging content and frontline technology.
Thrillers such as ‘Mirzapur’, ‘Raat Akeli Hai’ and British crime drama ‘The Serpent’ already released during the pandemic have sharpened the hunger for blood and guts streamed online to otherwise bored working-from-home Indians.
And now a fresh fusillade is expected with superstar Akshay Kumar’s ‘Bell Bottom’ set to titillate his theatre-going fans with the espionage thriller set in the 1980s.
The Bollywood actor, who will be playing the role of a spy in the film, said he believed espionage thrillers were gaining currency only because Hindi language cinema had not done enough with the genre.
“It’s not just an espionage thriller. Lots of comedy and other things are also very popular but yeah (we) make very little espionage kind of films so that is why people really want to see them,” Akshay told IANS.
Vaani Kapoor will be seen as Akshay’s female opposite and she appeared thrilled with the prospect of the film’s imminent release.
“A good thriller is everybody’s cup of tea,” said Vaani who made her Bollywood debut with the romantic movie ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’.
“Thriller has a little bit of reality, mystery, suspense and drama. These are all the things we humans thrive on. Little bit of everything. Not knowing the unknown and discovering something,” the actor said.
“I think it has a lot of value in this genre. Everybody tends to connect to it,” she added.
Actress Huma Qureshi, who will share screen space with Akshay and Vaani, is a veteran of blood-and-gore thrillers such as ‘Badlapur’, ‘Gangs Of Wasseypur’ and ‘D-Day’ to name a few.
She too seemed certain ‘Bell Bottom’ will have universal acceptance once it is released in theatres.
“It has a little something for everybody,” Huma said.
“I think the whole fascination is with the spy genre itself …that always plays like a big hook with the younger audience. It is the kind of story that will appeal to both the younger demographic in terms of style and also in terms of the older generation,” she added.
John Abraham’s ‘Attack’ based on a hostage crisis is set for release in theatres and is also expected to grab eyeballs, industry observers say.
‘Dhamaka’ and ‘Major’ are works-in-progress and the two action thrillers will top five such films already produced on the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks that left 166 people dead and 300 injured in India’s financial capital that horrified the world in 2008.
Manoj Bajpayee’s ‘Dial 100’ and ‘Silence, Can You Hear It?’, Tamannaah Bhatia’s ‘November story’ and British actor Benedict Cumberbatch’s ‘The Courier’ released this year have spurred the appetite.
Manoj told IANS: “‘Silence…’ was a suspense thriller, ‘Dial 100’, I would call it an emotional thriller more than anything. It has all elements of a thriller but at the same time it has a more social aspect to it and a more emotional aspect to it that makes it far more exciting and interesting,” the award-winning actor said.
‘Chehre’, a crime thriller starring Amitabh Bachchan and Emraan Hashmi is also set for release this month in Indian theatres.
South actor Tamannaah made her digital debut in April with the Telugu crime web series ’11th Hour’. In May, she returned to the OTT space again with ‘November Story’, a Tamil production revolving around an ailing crime writer who is father to a police hacker.
“When you choose a genre like the thriller… if it is done well… it has a high potential of reaching that goal of being a binge-watchable show,” Tamannaah said.
(Durga Chakravarty can be contacted at

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