Big surprises, bigger shocks: First half of Indian cinema’s 2022
While films such as Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 and The Kashmire Files hit the bulls-eye, Samrat Prithviraj and jersey missed the mark.
A lot of shocks, and some surprises- this pretty much sums up 2022’s half yearly report card. After braving two years of Covid, all eyes were set on whether people were ready to venture out of their homes and visit theatres.
It started with Gangubai Kathiawadi, and this team of actor Alia Bhatt and filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali worked wonders. And then came the surprise blockbuster of the year- The Kashmir Files, helmed by Vivek Agnihotri. Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, RRR, KGF 2 too brought back happy days for the film industry. The heavily promoted family drama, JuggJugg Jeeyo connected with the multiplex audience.
Trade analyst Taran Adarsh agrees and says it has been a mixed bag. “Gangubai was not a surprise, but Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 was. It exceeded everyone’s expectations with the kind of business it has done. Of course KGF 2 was there as well, it was dubbed in Hindi,” he says.
Agnihotri says the first half has been extraordinary. He says, “Theatres have been revived. When every big producers and directors of Bollywood started saying that OTT is the way forward, I never agreed. We had great offers to sell the film directly to OTT but we declined. We stuck to our conviction that audience is hungry for good cinema. This year had proved that theatre is the future not OTT.”
The box office collection was majorly driven by regional content in the first half, feels Vishal Sawhney, Director and CEO, Carnival Cinemas. “Hindi dubbed version of South films are increasingly taking a substantial share of the box office collection. 60-70% of the total business in terms of ticket sales was led by regional content. This proves that the script and the story content are the kings of cinemas,” he tells us.
Just when the industry was rejoicing after Gangubai..., Radhe Shyam starring Prabhas failed to live up to the expectations. Trade expert Atul Mohan doesn’t miss to mention the other shocks- John Abraham’s Attack, Akshay Kumar’s Samrat Prithviraj, Shahid Kapoor’s Jersey, Ranveer Singh’s Jayeshbhai Jordaar- which didn’t live up to the hype going for them.
Exhibitor Akshaye Rathi says the first half of 2022 has been one with a lot of learnings. “These unusual behavioural patterns of the audience are not just the scenario with films, but everywhere. Bhool Bhylaiyaa 2 we didn’t expect to the extent it has actually done, similarly nobody expected Samrat Prithviraj or Runway 34 to finish like they did,” he feels.
Bachchhan Pandey, with Akshay Kumar in the lead, also couldn’t find many takers.
He might have delivered a big hit in the form of BB2, but director Anees Bazmee claims that the non-performance of any film is saddening in the current scenario, when theatres are getting back on their feet. “Khushi iss baat ki hai ki meri direct ki gayi film aaj bhi theatres mein chal rahi hai. People are calling me and saying what a beautiful film we have made. A ray of hope is visible with the business of this film,” he shares.
He also declares that today a film is either a big hit, or flop, there is no in between. “Earlier, there would be superhits, semi-hits, average, and flop. The middle category is finished now. Ya toh log bauahut pyaar denge, ya bilkul nahi denge. It’s shocking, the business of some films. It’s something we need to think about,” he adds.
BOX OFFICE REPORT CARD
BHOOL BHULAIYAA 2- 184.32cr
THE KASHMIR FILES- 252.90cr
KGF 2- 434.70cr