MUMBAI—“When she was good she was very, very good, but when she was bad, he was horrid!” went a line in a classic Longfellow poem ages ago. But nothing underscores the biz angle of Hindi cinema in 2017 better than this. Substitute a film’s business for “she” and we get the counterpart of how things went in this year of extremes.
Very, very good!
Topping the list in the blockbuster scenario was S.S. Rajamouli’s “Bahubali 2: The Conclusion,” whose Hindi dubbed version alone made a nett killing in India of Rs. 511 crore! This was well ahead of the biggest Hindi blockbuster, Aamir Khan’s Nitesh Tiwari’s “Dangal,” which made Rs. 387 nett in India, by a margin of Rs. 124 crore! Interestingly, “Dangal” made most of this revenue in 2017, as it was released Dec. 23 last year!
Coming next to “Bahubali2…” was the huge success of 2017’s biggest original Hindi hit, Ali Abbas Zafar’s “Tiger Zinda Hai,” which has crossed Rs. 200 crore in seven days flat and is heading towards a minimum Rs. 300 crore in the (clear) days to come, as its first real competition will come in only a month later Jan. 26 with “PadMan” and “Aiyaary.”
The runner-up is “Golmaal Again,” which made Rs. 205 crore, and is Ajay Devgn’s first and Rohit Shetty’s actual first to cross 200 crore as well. As per inside trade sources, his “Chennai Express” was not a true-blue 200-plus film, as the exorbitantly magnified figures were caused when “Krrish 3” tried to “match” the feat, though, neither crossed even Rs.150 crore!
Both Akshay Kumar films – “Jolly LLB 2” and “Toilet: Ek Prem Katha” – and both movies featuring Varun Dhawan – “Judwaa 2,” and “Badrinath Ki Dulhania” – made the positive grade, though they could not be called super-hits despite all of them crossing the 100 crore mark and doing well, even overseas.
A definite super-hit that was made in low budget and got high returns was “Fukrey Returns,” which is still running. Successes at lower levels were “Bareilly Ki Barfi,” “Shubh Mangal Saavdhan” and “Hindi Medium,” while “Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana” may just make the grade.
“Naam Shabana” is stated to have cost Rs. 15 crore and made an Indian Rs. 37 crore, which places it in the average category already, apart from its business overseas. The figures for “Secret Superstar” are Rs. 20 crore and Rs. 41 crore, which also is about breakeven, with a nicer figure from overseas. However, a trade analyst on condition of anonymity stated that the cost (which means what the distributors paid!) was much higher than admitted for them due to the presence of superstars Khan and Kumar respectively, and both films, therefore, lost money, which could have been avoided.
The same, says the analyst, is the case with another touted hit, “Tumhari Sulu,” which is still running, where the balance is tilted towards the decided negative. However, before release, makers T-Series claimed to have recovered production costs through the sales of several rights.
Bad to horrid!
And that is the reason why we get so many bad to worse films nowadays – filmmakers rarely lose money even on terrible films!
Two more big films deserve mention, though the excuse that they clashed would be a readymade defense point for both. “Raees” and “Kaabil” both lost money for the distributors, and were claimed and believed to be successes/hits based on their 100 crore plus theatrical business, with the former performing better both in India and overseas, and “Kaabil” supposed to have cost lower!
“Tubelight,” the third film to make over 100 crore among them, saw co-producer Salman Khan compensating distributors for a part of their losses. Compensation was also given by Shah Rukh Khan (whose home production it was) to those who distributed “Jab Harry Met Sejal,” a clear-cut flop budgeted at Rs. 80 crore.
“Jab..” earned the lowest-ever figure for a Shah Rukh Khan film in the last decade (Rs. 64.12 crore lifetime). With a worldwide gross of Rs. 150.79 crore, this was indeed pathetic, and worse than even “Fan” and “Dilwale” (for which too SRK had compensated distributors later).
Other high-scale disasters in 2017 include “Rangoon,” “Raabta,” “Half Girlfriend” and “Jagga Jasoos.”
With over 90 A-grade releases and over 160 total (including C-grade) movies that made up the year, each one was a flop to a washout. Among those that mattered were “Chef,” “Maatr,” “Noor,” “Machine,” “Begum Jaan,” “Lucknow Central,” “Sarkar 3,” “A Gentleman: Sundar Susheel Risky,” “Qarib Qarib Singlle” (with Irrfan Khan as a film trying to cash in on “Hindi Medium”), Kapil Sharma’s “Firangi,” “Poster Boys,” “Bhoomi” (Sanjay Dutt’s comeback movie), “Daddy,” “Simran,” “Munna Michael,” “OK Jaanu,” “Indu Sarkar,” “Meri Pyaari Bindu,” “The Ghazi Attack,” “Mubarakan” and “Baadshaho” (both of which opened well), “Haseena Parkar,” Ittefaq” and “Sachin:A Billion Dreams,” which was a documentary that was sold and (extremely foolishly) bought for a killing sum!
Three films termed as hits – “Newton” (our addle-pated Oscar nominee), “Phillauri” and “Mom” – were also complete losers. Even the four skin-flicks (a genre considered quite safe due to its B-grade and single-screen potential) had a terrible climax – “Aksar 2,” “Julie 2,” “Tera Intezar” and “Game Over.”
The worst losers were two long-delayed films, “Ek Thi Rani Aisi Bhi” with Hema Malini and Vinod Khanna, and “Aa Gaya Hero,” with which Govinda tried to get back his audience. In a dubious record, Yash Raj Films had its lowest-ever opener when “Qaidi Band” opened to an all-India collection of less than a crore!
Nothing was expected from offbeat cinema like “Shab,” “Trapped,” “Lipstick Under My Burqa,” “Mukti Bhawan,” “Death In The Gunj” and “Raag Des,” and the (non-) expectations were fulfilled.
Also, flops were all three films in which our actors made international debuts – “Baywatch” (Priyanka Chopra), “xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage” (Deepika Padukone) and “Kung-Fu Yoga” (Sonu Sood and Disha Patani). The latter two were hits in their home country. “Partition: 1947,” the Hindi version of “Viceroy’s House” and featuring Indian artistes also nosedived. So did the dubbed version of (Dhanush and) Kajol’s “V.I.P. 2.”
HOW STARS FARED:
(Hits/Successes in CAPITALS, SUPER-HITS IN BOLD CAPITALS) *: Cameos
Salman Khan: TIGER ZINDA HAI, Tubelight
Aamir Khan: SECRET SUPERSTAR*
Akshay Kumar: TOILET—EK PREM KATHA, JOLLY LLB 2, NAAM SHABANA*
Shah Rukh Khan: Raees, Tubelight*, Jab Harry Met Sejal
Ajay Devgn: GOLMAAL AGAIN, Baadshaho
Hrithik Roshan: Kaabil
Varun Dhawan: JUDWAA 2, BADRINATH KI DULHANIA
Tiger Shroff: Munna Michael
Ranbir Kapoor: Jagga Jasoos
Arjun Kapoor: Mubarakan, Half Girlfriend
Sidharth Malhotra: A Gentleman, Ittefaq
Shahid Kapoor: Rangoon
Saif Ali Khan: Rangoon, Chef
Akshaye Khanna: Ittefaq, Mom
Emraan Hashmi: Baadshaho
Farhan Akhtar: Lucknow Central
Rajkummar Rao: BAREILLY KI BARFI, SHAADI MEIN ZAROOR AANA, Newton, Raabta*, Behen Hogi Teri
Ayushmann Khurrana: BAREILLY KI BARFI, SHUBH MANGAL SAAVDHAN, Meri Pyaari Bindu
Sushant Singh Rajput: Raabta
Irrfan Khan: HINDI MEDIUM, Qarib Qarib Singlle
Amitabh Bachchan: Sarkar 3
Sunny Deol: Poster Boys
Anil Kapoor: Mubarakan
Sanjay Dutt: Bhoomi
Bobby Deol: Poster Boys
Deepika Padukone: xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage (English)
Priyanka Chopra: Baywatch (English)
Katrina Kaif: TIGER ZINDA HAI, Jagga Jasoos
Alia Bhatt: BADRINATH KI DULHANIA
Jacqueline Fernandez: JUDWAA 2, A Gentleman
Anushka Sharma: Phillauri, Jab Harry Met Sejal
Parineeti Chopra: GOLMAAL AGAIN, Meri Pyaari Bindu
Shraddha Kapoor: OK Jaanu, Haseena Parkar, Half Girlfriend
Sonakshi Sinha: Noor, Ittefaq
Kriti Sanon: BAREILLY KI BARFI, Raabta
Taapsee Pannu: JUDWAA 2, NAAM SHABANA, The Ghazi Attack, Running Shaadi
Bhumi Pednekar: TOILET—EK PREM KATHA, SHUBH MANGAL SAAVDHAN
Ileana D’Cruz: Mubarakan, Badshaho
Tabu: GOLMAAL AGAIN
Kajol: V.I.P. 2
Kangana Ranaut: Simran, Rangoon
Vidya Balan: Tumhari Sulu, Begum Jaan
Yami Gautam: Kaabil
Rohit Shetty: GOLMAAL AGAIN
Ali Abbas Zafar: TIGER ZINDA HAI
David Dhawan: JUDWAA 2
Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari: BAREILLY KI BARFI
Shashank Khaitan: BADRINATH KI DULHANIA
Anees Bazmee: Mubarakan
Anurag Basu: Jagga Jasoos
Milan Luthria: Baadshaho
Kabir Khan: Tubelight
Vishal Bhardwaj: Rangoon
Imtiaz Ali: Jab Harry Met Sejal
Sabbir Khan: Munna Michael
Aditya Chopra: TIGER ZINDA HAI, Meri Pyaari Bindu, Bank Chor, Qaidi Band
Karan Johar: BADRINATH KI DULHANIA, Ittefaq
Sajid Nadiadwala: JUDWAA 2, Rangoon
Nitesh Tiwari: BAREILLY KI BARFI
Aamir Khan: SECRET SUPERSTAR
Mukesh Bhatt: Begum Jaan
Rakesh Roshan: Kaabil
Ritesh Sidhwani & Farhan Akhtar: FUKREY RETURNS, Raees,
T-Series HINDI MEDIUM, Tumhari Sulu, Ittefaq, Baadshaho, Raabta, Bhoomi, Simran