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Chhota packet, bada dhamakas ruled 2018: Good scripts over big Bollywood stars

Big names, big budgets didn’t translate into big numbers at the box office this year. Instead, novel stories with the new-gen stars rocked it, and how!

bollywood Updated: Dec 31, 2018 15:47 IST
Rishabh Suri
Rishabh Suri
Hindustan Times
Shah Rukh Khan,SRK,Badhaai Ho
The three Khans- Salman, Aamir and Shah Rukh all had a disappointing 2018, with their films underperforming at the box office.

Carrying forward the trend from 2017 when content-rich films got cash registers ringing, 2018, too, set examples. One of them being the fact that big-budget films with A-listers no longer mean a sure shot hit. Content this year came into its own, fuelled by actors such as Ayushmann Khurrana, Rajkummar Rao and Alia Bhatt.

Stories on spies, friendships, one’s parents getting pregnant found many more takers than conventional masala films. And even if the story was novel, like Zero which has Shah Rukh Khan as a vertically-challenged guy, content wasn’t strong to sustain the pre-release hype.

*Zero is currently running in theatres

Meghna Gulzar, who directed Raazi, says it’s the audience which underwent a change. “The audience has become far more discerning in terms of which kind of films they want to patronise. Categorising it on whether the budget is small or big would be an error. The content was new, fresh, removed from stereotypical films that have been coming out from our industry all this time. The beauty is that it’s not similar kind of content, it’s as diverse as it can possibly get.”


Actors realised that taking up a film merely on the basis of co-stars or money won’t help. Shraddha Kapoor, who starred in Stree, says, “A film’s success depends on a combination of factors. From the script to post production, everything plays an important part. The same happened with Stree. Content, I feel, was the USP.”

Sanya Malhotra, whose Badhaai Ho was her second ₹100-crore film after Dangal, echoes the sentiment. “I’ve always been on the lookout for challenging characters. Earlier, as a person who wasn’t part the industry, I was always moved by content-driven movies...I believe the industry is witnessing a revolutionary change and I’m really happy to be a part of it.”


Trade expert Joginder Tuteja says it isn’t as if star power has diminished just because the three Khans — Salman, Shah Rukh and Aamir — all had a disappointing year. “Race 3 took a big opening, same was for Thugs… Zero didn’t take a big opening. The fact that they went down was because the audience felt totally cheated. The bigger the star, the bigger the responsibility and bigger the expectations. It turned out to be a mess, but we can’t say people didn’t want to watch.”

On why he feels small films worked, he adds, “These films were not too small-budget, all had a good 30-40% of budgets set aside for promotion. These films didn’t have an opening of more than, say, ₹10 crore, that too came after promoting it well. It was whole-heartedly accepted as performances and content were solid.”

Interact with the author on Twitter/ @RishabhSuri02

First Published: Dec 31, 2018 15:47 IST