Bollywood makes bank

The Asian Age.

Entertainment, Bollywood

Despite the tanking of big-budget and star-laden films at box office, the first half of 2019 has garnered profit of Rs 1,850 crores in Bollywood.

De De Pyaar De poster

The first half of 2019 has been very profitable for Bollywood, with three blockbusters, two super hits, five hits and one semi-hit. This is an unprecedented phenomenon, given that big budget and star-laden films have been tanking these days. With over Rs 1,850 crores in the bank in the first six months of the year, this has been the best first six months Bollywood has ever seen.

“It is a very good sign for Bollywood,” says Atul Mohan, editor of Complete Cinema. “Films with medium budgets like Uri: The Surgical Strike, Badla and Kabir Singh have gone on to become blockbusters, and that should give filmmakers with heart a shot of adrenaline. Gully Boy is a super hit and so is Total Dhamaal. There are also hits like Akshay Kumar’s Kesari, Ajay Devgn’s De De Pyaar De, Salman Khan’s Bharat, Kartik Aaryan’s Luka Chhuppi, and the sleeper hit of the year – Vivek Agnihotri’s The Tashkent Files, which has gone on to spend 75 days at the box office,” he adds.

Kangana Ranaut’s Manikarnika turned out to be a semi-hit, along with the film that released with it – Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s Thackeray. And if the indications are anything to go by, Ayushmann Khurrana-starrer Article 15 will also end up being a semi-hit, say trade sources.

Meanwhile, the disappointments of the year include the Karan Johar produced films like Student Of the Year 2, which is an above-average film, and Kalank, which was a disaster. John Abraham’s RAW also gave the audience a raw deal, and Why Cheat India from Emraan Hashmi also raised the same question.

Incidentally, Rs 1,150 crores of the Rs 1,850 crores came from the first quarter of the year, the figures of which were also swelled due to last year’s release Simmba. The film’s major collections came this year in January.

Rajesh Vasani of Paras Publicity reckons that it is not necessary that Bollywood should just celebrate, but feels that they need to cut down on costs as well. “Look at how the cost of not just making movies, but also releasing them is also going up. The digital fee for every screen is around Rs 25,000. So if films are being released between 1000 screens for medium-sized films to over 3000 screens for the big films, the digital fees itself is huge. Adding to that the kind of publicity that makers are doing in print, TV and digital is humungous. In such a scenario, one has to learn to cut costs,” says Vasani, playing the voice of reason.

The 100 Crore Club

Salman Khan’s Bharat took four days to reach the mark, while Shahid Kapoor-starrer Kabir Singh took five days. Akshay Kumar-starrer Kesari took seven, and Ranveer Singh-starrer Gully Boy eight. Meanwhile, Ajay Devgn’s De De Pyaar De took nine days to touch the figure.

The Gregarious Mix

Interestingly, all sorts of films have done well in the first half. Patriotic films like Uri, period dramas like Bharat, Manikarnika and Kesari, thriller films like Badla, comedy films like Total Dhamaal and De De Pyaar De, youth driven films like Luka Chuppi and Gully Boy, biopics like Thackeray, The Tashkent Files and Accidental Prime Minister have done well according to their budgets.

Fighting off Hollywood

Hollywood films have also done well this season. “We need a lot more original content films and better made movies to fight off Hollywood’s invasion. Their films are made with better budgets and many of their films are franchises too. Last year, Hollywood films made Rs 900 crores and the number is only going to get bigger,” says Atul Mohan.

Coming up

There are films like the Akshay Kumar-starrers Mission Mangal, Housefull 4, and Good News; Saaho, starring Prabhas and Shraddha Kapoor; Batla House featuring John Abraham; Salman Khan’s second release of the year – Dabangg 3; and the Ashutosh Gowariker magnum opus Panipat, all of which are expected to contribute to the the year where Bollywood will likely make the most money.    —Sanskriti Media