Time certainly flies! It feels as if 2017 had just started, and before we know it, we are now in the month of April. It’s the appropriate time to analyze the state of Bollywood so far in 2017.
Hits and Flops…..best way to describe the year so far. As is the usually the case with the first quarter of the year, there has been no monumental box office Blockbuster yet. This always tends to happen, with the first one in the year rarely being the post-IPL release (as happened with Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani), but mostly tends to be the first Salman Khan film in the year, the Eid release. Until then, some films do well, while other films bite the dust!
The year started off with yet another urban rom-com by Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions: OK Jaanu. The film came and sank without a trace. As a matter of fact, it took me some moments to try to recollect what the name of this film was before typing it here! Seriously, Karan Johar has been successful with his urban rom-com productions, but there comes a point in time where it needs to stop. He’s been producing the same style film now for about a decade. It’s saddening too, because as a director, he has so much talent, yet when it comes to his productions, he decides to produce the same type film over and over. He brings a certain intensity in his directorials which is sometimes missing in the films he only produces. When connecting with the heartland, rural audience, it strikes very well, as became the case with the year’s biggest Hit so far (also from Dharma): Badrinath Ki Dulhania (more on that later).
Then came the big clash: Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees vs Hrithik Roshan’s Kaabil. In terms of opening numbers, it was always a given that Shah Rukh Khan was going to get a better opening than Hrithik, because let’s face it, in a clash, you simply are not going to have a better opening than SRK, irrespective of what his opponent film’s lifetime collections turn out to be. It has happened in the past that his opponent’s film has gotten a better opening during a clash (interestingly enough, happened when Hrithik’s Mission Kashmir opened better than his Mohabattein) but those days were long ago. In the last decade or so, SRK always has gotten the better opening. What came as a surprise though was Raees DOUBLED the opening of Kaabil. Of course, competition is serious business, and the Roshans (or a certain father Roshan, perhaps) wasted no time in manipulating the collection of their film to be at a more respectable level, compared to Raees. SRK wasn’t going to back down from this unfair play either, so he also took the dirty route and started manipulating the collection of Raees. Yeah, I am a SRK fan, but I am unbiased and call it how it is, black and white. The collections of both films were being manipulated. No debate!
SRK came out the winner, with Raees becoming the all-time highest January grosser with lifetime business of approximately 129 crore net. This, despite the fact that Kaabil had better audience WOM (Word of Mouth). Raees did manage to get the single screen audience back on board with SRK, but everything felt short-lived, as the collections started to drop quickly. For Hrithik, this was another devastating blow, after having already lost a clash with Akshay Kumar last Independence Day (MD vs Rustom).
Akshay Kumar’s Jolly LLB 2 was the next major film to release. The opening came off as a bit underwhelming: Akshay in a sequel of a Hit film, solo release, should’ve gotten a better opening that his Rustom which clashed with another film (a Hrithik film, no less), but yet, it didn’t manage to. Luckily, the WOM of the film was on the positive side, and Jolly LLB 2 came as another 100 crore film for Akshay, making it his fourth in a row after Airlift, Housefull 3, and Rustom. With that being said, 100 crore was a big achievement for Akshay Kumar in 2012…..not anymore. His biggest grosser till date is Rowdy Rathore, which did over 130 crores, and released nearly 5 long years ago. He really needs to step it to the next level now and get his film to atleast cross the 200 crore mark. Robot 2, although a south film, is a step in the right direction, purely when talking about box office. If Akshay emerges as the winner in Toilet Ek Prem Katha’s clash with SRK-Imtiaz film (in term of lifetime collections only as the opening has little chance only of being better) it will boost Akshay’s position at the box office even further.
Ah! Then came the debacle of the year: Rangoon. What needs to be said about this film that hasn’t been said already? A monumental box office disaster, which would have even Anurag Kashyap, Ranbir Kapoor, and everyone else associated with Bombay Velvet smiling from ear to ear. Why Viacom paid such a huge price to distribute such a niche film is something that is beyond anyone’s understanding. They paid the price for it…..literally, and heavily, in a bad way! Very damaging for the careers of all the actors involved in the film, basically being the final nail in the coffin of Saif Ali Khan’s career after many terrible years at the box office. Kangana’s value immediately goes down, and Shahid’s controversy-ridden, big-budget Padmavati gets even more dangerous.
Last, but not least, came Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania. The film connected with the audience and became a Super Hit at the box office. With that being said, it’s saddening that the biggest hit of the year is a film which had a 20+ year old song being remade as a big selling point for the film (Tamma Tamma), and the title/franchise of the film being a spin-off of a 20+ year old Blockbuster (DDLJ). Varun Dhawan-Alia Bhatt were being compared to the couple from that same film (SRK-Kajol of DDLJ). Also, many pointed out that Varun Dhawan seems to be copying Govinda’s acting style, and feel that Varun needs to make a change. I haven’t seen the film yet, but I must say, the altogether lack of originality of this film and this industry in general is indeed very frightening and will one day spell disaster for Bollywood. Not quite yet though, as proven by the strong collections of this film.
That was the first quarter of the year….let’s what a certain Mr. Khan (read: Salman) has up his sleeve for the rest of the year, both in terms of the content and box office of his two films, Tubelight and Tiger Zinda Hai!
The article has been written by Bobby Sidhu. You can follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/BobbyS_BO.