Box office report card 2019: Hrithik Roshan’s War is highest grossing film, Uri The Surgical Strike is biggest surprise
If there was one word to sum up 2019, it would be: unexpected! Right from a small film like Uri: The Surgical Strike emerging as the biggest success story and garnering National Awards, to small budget films like Article 15, Badla and Luka Chuppi giving their big-budget counterparts a run for their money - it all happened, sprinkled with a few disappointments. A lowdown on the 2019 box office:
A-listers such as Hrithik Roshan, Akshay Kumar and Shahid Kapoor got their career’s highest-grossing films. Hrithik set the box office on fire with two hits - Super 30, and War opposite Tiger Shroff, while Shahid broke through, playing the angry young man in Kabir Singh. Akshay emerged as the true Khiladi, with hits including Kesari, Mission Mangal and Housefull 4. Good Newwz too is off to a great start. Even Salman Khan’s Bharat made its presence felt. Dabangg 3, still running in theatres, meanwhile, has crossed Rs 100 crore.
Content is king, makes kings
Gully Boy (Rs 140.25 crore) with Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, proved that the topic could be as niche as underground rapping in Mumbai, but if made well, it will attract audiences. While Article 15 (Rs 65.45 crore), starring Ayushmann Khurrana, was based on the caste system, his Bala revolved around premature balding. Dream Girl (Rs 142.26 crore) saw him imitating a girl’s voice for an adult hotline. And it all worked. Chhichore (Rs 153.09 crore), a college drama with Sushant Singh Rajput and Shraddha Kapoor, also did well.
Anubhav Sinha, who directed and produced Article 15, says, “I truly believe Indian audience has always been receptive of social issues. There have been multiple instances of such films hitting the point home in the past. The volume, yes, has increased. I feel the success of Article 15 lied in the conviction of the cast and crew.”
The Tashkent Files, directed by Vivek Agnihotri, was the sleeper hit of the year. Aditya Dhar, who made his directorial debut with Uri, says, “The film was a tribute to the Indian Army. We cannot take it lightly. We knew we had made a small film with a big heart, on a shoestring budget. There was a certain risk, as in the last 15-20 years, no war film has worked, even though they might have been great films.”
Strong women characters were in abundance. While Sonakshi Sinha ran a sex clinic in Khandaani Shafakhana, Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar smashed stereotypes in Saand Ki Aankh. Shraddha Kapoor, who apart from Chhichore, also scored a hit with the Hindi version of Saaho, says, “Both the films were so different from each other and received equal love from the audience. Working on different genre of films with varied characters is what I’ve always wanted.”
Mission Mangal, apart from Akshay, consisted of a lead cast including Vidya Balan and Taapsee. Then there was Rani Mukerji as a headstrong cop in Mardaani 2.
To sum it up, trade expert Taran Adarsh says, “I’ve always said box office can be most unpredictable, that’s the beauty of it! You never know what will work or not. This year has seen a lot of surprises. Of course, there were major money spinners, but a lot of times people don’t expect such numbers from these films, yet they worked. Also, not just stars, but the combination of content and stars worked. Badla, Luka Chuppi, Pati, Patni Aur Woh (to name a few). It’s been a very good year.”
HITS (Top 5)
War (Rs 317.91 crore)
Kabir Singh (Rs 278.24 crore)
Uri (Rs 245.36 crore)
Bharat (Rs 211.07 crore)
Mission Mangal (Rs 202.98 crore)
Kalank (Rs 80.35 crore)
Panipat (Rs 33.39 crore)
Sonchiriya (Rs 6.60 crore)
Jabariya Jodi (Rs 16.33 crore)
The Zoya Factor (Rs 3.12 crore)
Pagalpanti (Rs 33.01 crore)
(All-India figures, according to Bollywood Hungama)
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