Reaping Fortunes

With 2019 closing out comes an inevitable flurry of lists to tell you all this year brought forth and what you missed on the way. This is another one of those lists, a compilation detailing the top ten financial successes in the Indian film industry during the year. For those who like to start a new year with a variety of lists, here is a fresh dose:

Uri : At number three, Uri was directed by Aditya Dhar, the movie stars Vicky Kaushal, Paresh Rawal, Mohit Raina and Yami Gautam in lead roles, the movie is about how Indian army special forces execute a covert operation, avenging the killing of fellow army men at their base by a terrorist group. Told through the eyes of Major Vihaan Singh Shergill, the movie follows a dramatised account of Indian retaliation for the 2016 Uri attacks in Jammu and Kashmir. Director Dhar won a National Film award for his debut.

Kabir Singh: The second highest grossing Bollywood film of 2019, Kabir Singh is the remake of Telugu movie Arjun Reddy. Directed by Sandeep Vanga and starring Shahid Kapoor in the leading role, Kabir Singh follows the sojourns of a troubled, alcoholic surgeon as his life spirals out of control after his girlfriend leaves him. While the movie received a mix reception with criticism aimed at the movie's perceived glorification of misogyny, Shahid won great praise for his portrayal of a despair laden and brooding protagonist.

WAR: WAR is the highest grossing Bollywood film of 2019 with a net gross of Rs 2,92,71,50,000. Also holds record for highest gross for opening day for any Bollywood film in India. Directed by Siddharth Anand and produced by Aditya Chopra, War follows an Indian soldier who has been assigned the task of eliminating his former mentor who has gone rogue. War features Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff in the two main leading roles. Interestingly, this is also the only Bollywood movie to date which has had scenes shot in the Arctic. Based on its critical and commercial success, there are plans to develop an entire series following this movie.

Housefull 4: Housefull 4 is 4th on the list of top grossing films of 2019. The film is fourth in line of the Housefull movie franchise and stars an ensemble cast of Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh, Bobby Deol, Kriti Sanon, Pooja Hegde and Kriti Kharbanda. While the first three movies were directed by Sajid Khan, he was replaced for this instalment by Farhad Samji. The movie follows the theme of reincarnation, with the story spanning 600 years and is categorised as a romcom that leans more towards the comedy side. While commercially successful, many see this movie as the weakest of the films in a series that is not well known for their critical reception.

Bharat: Salman Khan led Bharat is number five on the list. The rest of the movie's star cast features Katrina Kaif, Tabu, Sunil Grover, Disha Patani and Jackie Shroff. The movie focuses its narrative around the life of Bharat, an ordinary man struggling to live in an India that is post independence and follows his life from the age of 8 to 70. The movie is known to be based in essence on the South Korean movie, Ode to my Father and largely performed as well critically as it did commercially; picking up rave reviews for the various acting performances, with some making comparisons to Tom Hanks led Forrest Gump.

Mission Mangal: At number 6, comes in Mission Mangal. The movie, directed by Jagan Shakti, features an ensemble cast of Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Taapsee Pannu, Nithya Menen, Kirti Kulhari, Sharman Joshi, H. G. Dattatreya, Vikram Gokhale, and Sonakshi Sinha. The film is based on a loose reproduction of the lives of ISRO scientists who worked on the Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan), which was India's first interplanetary mission and one of the least expensive missions to mars ever conceived. Released on Independence Day, the movie enthralled critics and audiences alike with the real human stories behind one of India's proudest crowning achievements as a advanced nation and more importantly making it the least expensive mission to Mars.

Kesari: Historical military drama Kesari comes in at number seven. The movie was directed by Anurag Singh under the banner of Dharma Productions and starred Akshay Kumar and Parineeti Chopra in the leading roles. Initially planned with Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar plays the lead role in the movie as Havaldar Ishar Singh, an officer from the Sikh regiment of the British Indian Army. It is based on an incredible true story of the Battle of Saragarhi in 1897. The events highlighted in the movie are those that show the brave resistance of 21 soldiers from the 36th company of the Sikh regiments in holding off nearly 2000 Afridi and Orakzai Pashtun tribesmen in 1897. While slated as a patriotic, heroic tale, Kesari found larger success as war drama, replete with a catchy movie score and whole plethora of quotable quips from the various characters.

Total Dhamaal: The third installation in the hit Dhamaal series, Total Dhamaal was the 8th biggest earner amongst Bollwood films of 2019. The movie was meant to be a reboot of the first movie and featured an ensemble cast of Ajay Devgan, Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Riteish Deshmukh, Arshad Warsi, Javed Jaffrey and Esha Gupta, alongside many similarly illustrious cameos. The movie revolves around a large hidden treasure that is sought after by a variety of greedy and eccentric characters for their unsavoury and comical gains. Needless to say, foolish hilarity ensues. While a commercial hit, Total Dhamaal suffered from much of the story and character shortfalls of its predecessors though many noted it to be a clean, family oriented slapstick comedy, especially in comparison to the previous movie in the series.

Saaho: Action thriller Saaho holds the distinction of being one of the most expensive Indian films ever made. Its critical reception aside, it did more than recoup its 350 crore budget. Directed by Telugu director Sujeeth Reddy, Saaho stars Prabhas and Shraddha Kapoor in its leading roles. The movie is based on a power struggle that is created when an expansive criminal syndicate loses its top leadership. The struggle devolves into a further convoluted game of cat and mouse when various intelligence agencies get involved in order to take advantage of the power vacuum and take down the syndicate. The movie was nevertheless panned by critics with various controversies attached to its release, including its perceived rip off of the poster for the movie Blade Runner 2049.

Chhichhore: Closing out at number ten is Chhichhore. Directed by Nitesh Tiwari, the 2019 coming of age film stars Sushant Singh Rajput, Shraddha Kapoor, Varun Sharma, Naveen Polishetty, Prateik Babbar, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Tushar Pandey and Saharsh Kumar Shukla. The movie follows a group of seven friends from 1992 as they meet in university and progresses onward till their mid age life, as they separate ways. The movie was a critical success as well as a commercial one with many critics noting how familiar and close to heart much of movies scenarios seem for anyone who has drifted apart from their friends.

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