Bollywood has struck big without the Khans, and it’s the small-budget films that gave the biggest surprise. The first five months of this year have seen no Salman, Shah Rukh or Aamir release; it’s the tight-budget non-commercial films that have set cash registers ringing.
The icing on the cake has been three biggies that have crossed the Rs 100 crore mark. "We don’t need Khans to run a film ... we didn’t have any Khan in Kahaani and Vicky Donor; still they did well. It all depends on the content," says trade analyst Vinod Mirani.
A bouquet of small films such as Kahaani, Paan Singh Tomar, Vicky Donor and Ishaqzaade turned into big successes at the ticket window. Except Ishaqzaade, which was made at a budget of Rs 25 crore, the other three were made within Rs 10 crore.
"The films have garnered profit from the satellite rights as well," says expert Rajesh Thadani. Cinema owners say this marks a new phase in Bollywood. Pramod Arora, CEO of PVR Cinemas, says, "This is the process of evolution. A lot of non-mainstream cinema happened to be mainstream. Had Vicky Donor released two years ago, it would have been taken as a taboo."
Apart from the shoestringers, among the 45 films that have hit theatres in 2012 so far are big-budget non-Khan starrers Agneepath, Housefull 2 and Rowdy Rathore that have crossed the R100 crore mark. Bollywood’s report card didn’t look so good at this time last year. "This year’s collection was superior to last year’s. There was not a single fall during the IPL.
The fear factor of releasing your film during IPL was not there," says Arora. Experts say the Khans should watch out in the second half, when Sallu’s Ek Tha Tiger, SRK’s film with Yash Chopra, and Aamir’s Talaash hit theatres.
(Ians and HTC)