Neerja to Udta Punjab: Films that worked at the box office in 2016
We’re half-way through the year, and it’s time for Bollywood to look at its ledger account. But the results can’t be called “resounding at all”, according to trade experts. Calling the last six months “reasonably good”, trade expert Komal Nahta says “this is almost always the case”. “The second half of the year is loaded with expectations, as it has a lot of festivals and national holidays. Still, the first half has fared better than the first half of the last couple of years,” he adds.
The last six months witnessed hits such as Airlift, Neerja, Kapoor & Sons, Ki & Ka, Baaghi, Housefull 3 and Udta Punjab. Also, films such as Aligarh, Nil Battey Sannata and Phobia were appreciated by the critics. But a few big releases including Fitoor, Fan and Te3n didn’t live up to expectations.
The director of Baaghi, Sabbir Khan, says he still feels nice when people come up to him and say they loved his film. He adds, “I am happy with the way Baaghi was received, but I am also glad that there is no particular trend [of a certain genre of films doing well]. Audiences seem to be encouraging a range of movies as long as they are good. It’s evident in the first six months of the year.”
Film-maker Sajid Nadiadwala, who produced Baaghi and Housefull 3, credits his team for the success of his films. “I’ve had great teams working for me, including fantastic writers and directors such as Farhad-Sajid and Sabbir. So the good results become inevitable,” he says.
Interestingly, experts feel that Hollywood ruled the roost in the first six months of the year. The Jungle Book made around Rs 180 crore in India, and it had company in other Hollywood hits like Captain America: Civil War, The Angry Birds Movie, The Conjuring 2 and Kung Fu Panda 3.
“Hollywood has majorly dominated the first half, as there hasn’t been any B-Town blockbuster; something like The Jungle Book,” says exhibitor-distributor Akshaye Rathi, adding, “As for B-Town, it has been a mixed bag. When there’s not a single blockbuster, the industry’s outlook is not very positive.”
The coming months
The trade world is pinning their hopes on the second half of the year, which is loaded with big-ticket ventures such as Sultan, Rustom, Dangal, Mohenjo Daro, Dishoom, the biopic on MS Dhoni, Befikre, Baar Baar Dekho, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Shivaay. “It’s historically proven that the second half turns the tide for Bollywood, since there are a lot of holidays, and the audience is in a happier, festive mood,” says Nahta. Rathi adds, “All the films look commercial with great songs and cast. So, we are keeping our fingers crossed.”
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