It’s that time of the year when you look back at the hits you experienced and the misses you survived. For the Hindi film industry, 2017 was something of a revelation, which showed that the audience is taking a hard look at content
The year 2017 cemented a truism that filmmakers know but sometimes ignore – that content and content alone wins at the box office. It's that time of the year when you look back at the hits you experienced and the misses you survived. For the Hindi film industry, 2017 was something of a revelation, which showed that the audience is taking a hard look at content and accepting or rejecting movies based purely on that criteria – and nothing else.
January was filled with remakes and clashes. From the controversial release of Haraamkhor; Deepika Padukone's Hollywood debut in xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage; Ok Jaanu bombing at the box office; to finally Raees and Kaabil emerging victorious after they butted heads at the ticket counter during the Republic Day weekend, it was an eventful month for cine-goers.
The next month ushered in another superstar's success as Akshay Kumar's Jolly LLB 2 opened with big numbers. But the other starry release of February 2017, Shahid Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut and Saif Ali Khan-starrer Rangoon was a huge disappointment.
With some festive colour, the month of March brought in the '100-crore success of Badrinath Ki Dulhania. Several other, smaller movies like Commando 2 and Naam Shabana put in an average performance at the box office.
The first half of April included some downers like Noor, Begum Jaan, Maatr and the Hollywood film The Fate Of The Furious. But the final days of the month saw the phenomena of Baahubali: The Conclusion hypnotise the audience so completely that the film became the biggest hit of the century, with over '500 crore in collections.
With the Baahubali fever raging, film-goers flocked to cinemas in May, when content-driven movies like Hindi Medium and Half Girlfriend worked wonders. Some other releases that month were Sarkar 3, Meri Pyaari Bindu and Priyanka Chopra's Baywatch, which failed to make an impression.
Along with Death In The Gunj, the animated film Hanumaan: Da' Damdaar, Dear Maya, Behen Hogi Teri and Bank Chor, there were also two huge disappointments in June. Salman Khan's Tubelight and Sushant Singh Rajput-Kriti Sanon's Raabta were a total letdown. The only saving grace was the superhero film Wonder Woman, which was a huge hit.
Beginning the month of July on a strong note was Sridevi's MOM and Spiderman: Homecoming. These were followed by films like Guest Iin London, Jagga Jasoos, Munna Michael, Shab, Raagdesh and Indu Sarkar, which didn't do well. But in the midst of these releases, we also had Lipstick Under My Burkha which wowed the classes even as Mubarakan won over the masses.
August 2017 was a mixed bag, with a big film like Jab Harry Met Sejal bombing and Toilet: Ek Prem Katha becoming a superhit. Positive word-of-mouth helped Bareilly Ki Barfi and Annabelle: The Creation make a mark while others like A Gentleman, Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, Qaidi Band and Partition: 1947 failed to do so. The following month saw a number releases, like Baadshaho, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, Poster Boys, Daddy, Simran, Lucknow Central, Patel Ki Punjabi Shaadi, Bhoomi and Haseena Parkar, among others. But the only ones that caught the audience's attention were the powerful Newton and the masala entertainer Judwaa 2.
With Diwali in October came two much-awaited films. Aamir Khan's Secret Superstar and Rohti Shetty's Golmaal Again!!! both did well at the box office, with the latter crossing the '200-crore mark. Other films that released that month were Chef, Tu Hai Mera Sunday, Jia Aur Jia and Rukh.
In November, Ittefaq, Qarib Qarib Singelle and Tumhari Sulu did decent business. The two big Hollywood releases, Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League also brought in good collections. But other films like The House Next Door, Ribbon, Aksar 2, Julie 2, etc. pulled down the overall numbers.
December 2017 was supposed to be the highlight of the year, with films like Padmavati and Tiger Zinda Hai releasing. But the postponement of the Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor-starrer has robbed the month of some of its festive cheer while last week's release Fukrey Returns kind of made up for the disaster created by Tera Interzaar and Firangi.
This week, we spoke to producers from the Bollywood fraternity and asked them to sum up the year 2017; which films, in their opinion, made the cut to become super hits; and to spell out their expectations from the industry in 2018.
Mukesh Bhatt, Producer
The year 2017 has been an interesting year, where a lot of content-driven films have worked, and a lot of star-studded films didn't work. Another interesting factor was that all masala films with good content worked this year. So the audience has made it very clear that they will only watch good movies, movies which give them entertainment.
Yes, if we look at the box office, not many films did good business but that's par for the course. With every successive year, we have to be more careful about our content and have our finger on the pulse of our audience.
2017 was a learning experience as every year but with a lot of innovations and social media we have to be very careful to guard our projects from all unforeseen obstacles to sail smoothly. Think twice before you leap as films are most vulnerable to any situations. According to me films are good or bad. Hits and flops are destiny.
Boney Kapoor, Producer
Well, 2017 had a good mix of content and entertainment and films like Hindi Medium did well. Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, Bareilly Ki Barfi, MOM and all these films did well. At the same time, you had Judwaa 2 and Golmaal Again!!!, which did extremely well. So it was a good mix of content-oriented films. The other thing is that female protagonists were able to draw people to the box office and these success stories are gradually being accepted.
I am sure these strengths will continue into 2018 and perhaps we will have a better ratio of successes as there are some very interesting films lined up, like PadMan and Tiger Zinda Hai. There will be a lot of surprises in 2018.
Bhushan Kumar MD, T-Series
It's been a year of ups and downs for the industry. It was a year when small-budget or content-driven films worked at the box office as well as with the critics. For us, films like Hindi Medium and Tumhari Sulu worked wonders and, similarly, it was a year when films like Bareilly Ki Barfi, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, Newton, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, etc. notched up good numbers at the box office due to word-of-mouth. There were also films like Golmaal Again!!! and Judwaa 2 that received audience's applause.
But this was a year that saw a different side of our audience preferences, and the films lined up for release in 2018 reflect this change in audience choices. We ourselves have a mixed bag of films like BLACKMAIL, Sonu Ke Titoo Ki Sweety, Kedarnath, Batti Gul Meter Chalu, Fanne Khan, the Saina Nehwal biopic, Raid, an untitled film with Deepika Padukone and Irrfan, Ajay Devgn's untitled film, and many more. Many of our peers are also coming up with content-driven as well as big-budget films, which will help the industry experience a better year than 2017.
Jayantilal Gada, Producer
The year 2017 has been very interesting as all genres of films have worked. From Judwaa 2 and Golmaal Again!!! to Newton, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and many more, they did good business. The audience is open to accepting all kinds of cinema. The film needs to entertain the audience and connect with the emotions and sentiments of the Indian audience. Hence, you can't say that only a certain kind of cinema is working.
Another interesting factor is that Diwali is a very special period for the film business but it's been a while since films have put in a good performance during this festival. But, this year, both films Golmaal Again!!! and Secret Superstar secured a good amount of footfalls in theatres. Last week's Fukrey Returns is also doing well. So, all in all, 2017 has been a decent year.
In 2017, there were films which did not work and there were films which were hits. Now FukreyReturns is creating a mass entertainment. Films like Tumhari Sulu, Raees and MOM, and a few other commercial movies, became part of the success stories because of their unique stories. Overall, we would say that it was a mixed bag of genres that were success stories. For instance, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha had a message and it was entertaining too. Jolly LLB 2 was another film that was entertaining and carried an impeccable message too. Finally, movies with great content worked and those that failed did so because their content wasn't up to the mark. Before a film releases, the buzz depends purely on its promotions but the true test of a movie's quality is the response after it releases.
In 2018, we have many big movies lined up. Let's judge them only after they release and see how the public reacts to a particular movie. Apoorva Mehta, CEO, Dharma Productions 2017 has been a remarkable year for Dharma Productions. We pushed the envelope and took creative risks which paid off. We offered a mixed bag ranging from the epic magnum opus in Baahubali: The Conclusion to a simple, ingeniously marketed and engrossing psychological thriller in Ittefaq. On the one hand we had a serious drama-thriller in The Ghazi Attack, while a wholesome family entertainer like Badrinath Ki Dulhania on the other. We are elated by the box office success and the acceptance we've received from the audience.
On the industry side the biggest standouts this year have been franchise films and content driven films. Franchise films such as Badrinath Ki Dulhania, Fukrey Returns, Golmaal Again!!!, Baahubali 2, Judwaa 2 and Jolly LLB 2 have done phenomenally well, and have dominated at the box office.
On the other hand, content driven films irrespective of size have had a fabulous run at the ticket counters. In fact, most of the content driven films have been small–medium budget films such as The Ghazi Attack, Bareilly Ki Barfi, Newton, Ittefaq, Lipstick Under My Burkha, Hindi Medium, etc.
One can say that the lines between niche and mainstream audiences are blurring, and this success instills the confidence to try out novel, offbeat content.
Vijay Singh – Fox Star Studios
Fox Star Studios continued its successful streak of 2016 in 2017, with three blockbusters, making us the only studio in the industry with a record of three back-to-back 100-crore films in the year. While Jolly LLB 2, directed by Subhash Kapur, was developed along with our internal creative team, Badrinath Ki Dulhania and Judwaa 2 are part of the strategic alliances with our creative partners, Dharma Productions and Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment, respectively. Along with these Bollywood winners, even the big Hollywood release and one of the most awaited films of 2017, Hugh Jackman-starrer Logan and Murder On The Orient Express, have had a phenomenal run at the box office.
Kalapi Nagada – Cinekorn
Apart from Baahubali: The Conclusion, 2017 has seen only a few blockbusters like Golmaal Again!!! and Judwaa 2, collecting '204 crore and '132 crore, respectively in the domestic market. These numbers hint that the box office is in great need of another blockbuster this year. A bigger cause of worry is that this year, even popular stars couldn't bring audiences to cinemas including Salman Khan in Tubelight, Shah Rukh Khan in Jab Harry Met Sejal , Ajay Devgn in Baadshaho and Ranbir Kapoor in Jagga Jasoos.
December is traditionally a strong month for revenues in Bollywood, but the industry received a blow this year with the release of Padmavati being postponed for another two months. This means that a historically lucrative month will have only one mega film, Tiger Zinda Hai, to bank on and this could spell bad news for the industry. Padmavati was expected to earn around '300 crore but even that number could have come down given how intense the opposition is to the film.
The year 2018 has a good line-up of releases, with Akshay Kumar's PadMan, Mogul, 2.0, Gold and Crack, Salman Khan's Race 3, and Ranbir Kapoor's Sanjay Dutt biopic. Here's hoping they bring in the expected numbers at the box office!boi