While Bollywood saw its first box-office hit for the year in Akshay Kumar's Baby, which released in January, there weren't any blockbusters post that, until Salman Khan's Bajrangi Bhaijaan (BB) hit theatres. The film has done a business of over Rs 300 crore in India. Now, trade experts say that the second half of the year looks "positive". They say that over Rs 1,000 crore is riding on the upcoming Hindi films.
The second half starts with the Akshay and Sidharth Malhotra-starrer Brothers, which will be followed by other big ones including Saif Ali Khan's Phantom, Singh Is Bling, director Sanjay Gupta's Jazbaa starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo starring Salman, Imtiaz Ali's Tamasha with Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone, Rohit Shetty's Dilwale, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Bajirao Mastani and Vikas Bahl's Shaandar.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Jazbaa (L), Ranveer Singh in Bajirao Mastani.
"As artistes, we hope people like our work because we work hard. The response [to our film] is overwhelming. I feel the pressure is on Sanjay (Gupta). He says it is a reminder that the film has to be good," says Aishwarya.
Talking about the importance of the second half of a year, trade analyst Amod Mehra says, "Over the past few years, it has become a trend that the second half is generally overloaded since big films stay away from the theatres till the IPL (Indian Premier League) gets over in May."
Anupam Kher and Salman Khan in Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (L), Deepika Padukone in Imtiaz Ali's Tamasha.
Film-makers also seem to be confident about their projects. "I am very happy. Even the experience [of working on Singh Is Bling] was great. This time, there will be 80% comedy, mixed with romance and some action," says Prabhudheva, who has directed the film.
Talking about his next, Imtiaz says, "I am not feeling any pressure. If there's a story I want to make, I just go ahead with it. You should enjoy yourself while working on a film."
Exhibitor-distributor Akshaye Rathi says things look "positive" for the box office in the coming months. "Thanks to the wave created by Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Bahubali: The Beginning, things are looking positive. And with the kind of star-laden films coming up, the trade aspect looks solid, at least on paper."