Akshay Kumar’s Good Newwz, by Sunday, has grossed Rs 65 crore and looks like it will sail past the Rs 100-crore mark in the first week itself. Not a mean feat for a film, that. Now, we could fall back on sweeping statements like ‘Akshay is the hit-maker’ or others, or we could admit the truth. That Good Newwz is the ultimate masala film, and a fitting end to a fabulous year at the movies, at least for small movies.
In today’s Monday Masala, we talk about why Good Newwz isn’t really the biggest goof-up of the year, but the greatest success story.
For starters, Raj Mehta managed a casting coup for this comedy of errors that’s clearly resonated with the audience. Apart from being good actors with impeccable comic timing, the four – Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Diljit Dosanjh and Kiara Advani – are so compatible and comfortable with each other that they seem to be feeding off each other’s energies through the film. In a comedy, that is what makes all the difference – compatibility.
Add the fact that Akshay and Kareena are coming back together a decade after Kambakht Ishq (2009), save a dance number in Brothers (2015), and you’ve already grabbed your audience’s attention.
But what truly worked in the film’s favour is the content. Akshay had earlier said that he is trying to bring the serious subject of IVF “thoda commercially” through Good Newwz. He wanted to make in vitro fertilisation a dinner table conversation. He wanted to make a prudish country like ours talk about sperm and sex in a regular sentence, without flinching. While one half of the Indian cine audience has evolved enough to get that, the other can still be found shifting in their seats at the mere mention of the word sex. In fact, it had left the Housefull 4 actor furious after a channel had muted these words in the episode where he was promoting Good Newwz. Speaking at Agenda AajTak 2019, Akshay had said, “I went for a TV show once, they were showing the trailer of my film Good Newwz, and the channel had beeped out the word sperm. I was upset; I asked them how can you do that? Sperm is not a bad word, it’s a natural word, and my film is an educational film. Like Padman, people should know about sanitary pads.”
The fact that Akshay’s Good Newwz caters to both equally is a challenge unlike any other.
And that’s where Good Newwz wins – a masala entertainer, with all the quintessential elements, wrapped around an interesting, human story. The film does get preachy in parts and oversimplified in others. But if both the ‘massy’ and the ‘classy’ Indian audience today is talking about IVF, or are taking the effort to at the very least Google the abbreviation, we ought to consider Good Newwz a success.
Superstars who are still under the impression that they can waltz on to the screen wearing colourful glasses or wiggle their belts and walk away with a superhit, think again. Good Newwz works where decade-old franchises fail – both at entertaining and at telling a story.