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Home / Bollywood / Coronavirus woes: A dry first half for showbiz

Coronavirus woes: A dry first half for showbiz

There were 29 film releases in the first three months of 2020 but box office collections seem to have been dampened owing to the Covid-19 pandemic among other factors. Read on

bollywood Updated: Apr 29, 2020 15:36 IST
Titas Chowdhury
Titas Chowdhury
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Ayushmann Khurrana with Jitendra Kumar  in a still from Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan
Ayushmann Khurrana with Jitendra Kumar in a still from Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan

High hopes were pinned on the first quarter of 2020 considering 2019 raised the bar for the Indian film business. This year saw the release of a handful of big ticket films, out of which Street Dancer 3D, Chhapaak, Love Aaj Kal, Panga and Bhoot – Part One: The Haunted Ship, underwhelmed at the box office. And, with the lockdown owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Indian box office witnessed a further slump. Trade analyst Atul Mohan elaborates, “The first quarter of 2019 performed way beyond our expectations and so, we were expecting 2020 to be at par with 2019. Even before the lockdown, the first quarter of 2020 wasn’t doing well. We thought that Baaghi 3 and Sooryavanshi would make up for the all the money lost in the first two months. Angrezi Medium opened decently well but then cinemas had to close down.”

Tiger Shroff in a still from Baaghi 3
Tiger Shroff in a still from Baaghi 3

Enlisting the box office winners of the first quarter of this year, trade analyst Amul Vikas Mohan says, “Out of all 29 films that released in the first quarter, only four films have done well at the box office. Tanhaji, Baaghi 3, Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan and Malang have done great business.”

He explains, “Baaghi 3 had the highest advance booking and opening day numbers with a tremendous business of ₹100 crores. Malang had the fresh pair Aditya (Roy Kapur) and Disha (Patani) garnered good numbers in its pockets. Riding on Ayushmann’s (Khurrana) content film lineage, Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan (SMZS) also did decent business.”

With the lockdown affecting the collections of Baaghi 3 that set the ticket counters ringing with ₹93.37 crores in its first week, Tiger Shroff now looks forward to the film getting a second release. He says, “I’m so grateful and blessed that Baaghi 3 managed to do what it did. However, with all that has been happening in the world unfortunately, the safety and health of others was playing on my mind more so I couldn’t really relish the film as it was a secondary thought in my mind. I’ll be looking forward to a re-release of our film and pick up where we left off.”

SMZS themed on homosexuality raked in ₹60.78 crore at the box office. For Khurrana, however, success isn’t about numbers. “I’m simply thrilled that the film has captured the imagination of the nation and brought an issue like this out of the closet for all families to discuss. It’s a huge validation that such cinema is being accepted with open arms and becoming success stories. When these stories become hits, they do their job because the message reaches out to a large set of audience,” he shares.

Watch the trailer for Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan here: 

With a collection of ₹58.99 crore, Malang was a hit. Producer of the film, Ankur Garg believes that thrillers will always be a favourite with the audience. He says, “So far, 2020 has been a year of market correction, with few films performing at the box office and we’re fortunate that Malang was one such film that received so much love and appreciation. The audience is appreciating thriller genre more than before now, and I feel good thriller content will always have takers.”

Disha Patani believes in the evolution of cinema and actors
Disha Patani believes in the evolution of cinema and actors ( Photo: Instagram/dishapatani )

Disha Patani shares the success of the film cemented her position in the industry. She says, “I’m glad that the audience enjoyed watching the film. I think that as long as an actor focuses on their art and evolves with the taste of the audience, they will always be successful not just with the quality of content they deliver, but also at the box office.”

Looking ahead, Atul Mohan opines, “Last year, the net box office collections stood at ₹4400 crore. In 2018, it was ₹3300 crore and in 2017, it was ₹3000 crore. The business was increasing by 10-14% every year. We’ve almost lost the entire second quarter too, which is a really important period as we have festival and post IPL releases. People won’t even venture out in the month of June and I don’t see any big releases taking place in that month. I believe that the business will pick up only after Independence Day.”

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