MUMBAI — It’s been a great year. 85 films, including four dubbed movies, have entered the 100 crore club since it began with the Christmas 2008 release “Ghajini.” There was a year’s gap until the next, “3 Idiots,” that had a Christmas 2009 release. For trivia-hunters, it was also the last Hindi film to complete a 50-week run or achieve a Golden Jubilee run in the theatres, something inconceivable today. It also was the first film to cross Rs. 200 crore.
But never were there 13 films in a year within the first nine months-and-a-week in any year. And with at least three more films, “Housefull 4” in Diwali, and “Dabangg 3” and “Good Newwz” in December, adding the possibility of additional dark horses, the year will see 16 hundred-crore members, the highest in any single year. Last year saw 12 films in this club.
As mentioned many times before, these figures only mention nett (after deduction of entertainment tax) theatrical figures. They do not include extra-theatrical revenues, or indicate if the film was a super-hit, hit, average runner, break-even or a loss-making film.
Here is the magic list of 13 for luck 100-crore films this year:
“URI: The Surgical Strike”
A well-made film, directed by a debutant Aditya Dhar, this film resonated with public sentiment and also indicated that their electoral mood was of Nation First, and nationalistic parties ditto. This dramatized replay of a real incident became Hindi cinema’s first star-less film to cross 200 crore, so far the exclusive terrain of stars and/or known banners and filmmakers. Thanks to its slim budget, and boosted further by the Pulwana attacks during its run, the film was a super-hit.
“Gully Boy” was a surprise, and this off-the-mainstream film, complete with Rap Music as center-stage, proved Ranveer Singh’s (and also Alia Bhatt’s) credentials as audience-pullers. Excel Entertainment got its only clean hit after “Fukrey Returns,” and for the first time, a Hindi film had over a dozen music-makers. The icing on the cake of this disguised bio-pic directed by Zoya Akhtar was its Oscar nomination.
Indra Kumar undid the damage of “Great Grand Masti” and “Super-Nani” with this caper with a crime base. The “Dhamaal” ensemble joined hands with big names Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit Nene, Ajay Devgn, and Jackie Shroff for a dickens of a crazy ride. The film proved a hit.
The surprisingly slow start despite an insignificant opposition and stupid and inane prejudices against the film put paid to this film doing the quantum of business it deserved. However, this true (and strategically dramatized) tale of great valor did connect despite the period setting. Akshay Kumar was superb in it, and the film did above-average business.
De De Pyaar De
Still one of the most delightful films of the year, this was the second Ajay Devgn film (this time solo) to romp home. Ace editor Akiv Ali made a smash beginning as a director, and Devgn, Tanu and Rakul Preet Singh were outstanding in this very contemporary lead triangle. Still, the film ruffled a few chauvinistic and orthodox segments of society and had to be content with above-average business.
This long exercise in tedium was the third Salman Khan marathon is as many years to underperform both vis-à-vis its budget as well as our expectations from Bhai. Thanks to Eid, the film did cross Rs. 200 crore, but thanks to extra-theatrical inputs, it might have broken even.
No one knew how the audience took to and embraced this film with all their heart. The film was dark, a bit deviant, had several flaws, was too lengthy, had no stars worth the pulling-power name and a convoluted script. It was an early indication that the audience was also changing along with filmmakers. This remake of Sandeep Vanga Reddy’s blockbuster “Arjun Reddy” that he also directed, earned Rs. 278 crore and thanks to its low budget, became a super-hit.
Hrithik Roshan showed that he was still in the reckoning as a top star. Whatever success this average caliber film got could be mostly put at his door. The film had a terrific performance from him and the real-life bio-pic ensured that it did average business.
Easily among the best of Akshay Kumar’s films in the last five years, this story of India’s first Mars mission added tangy bits of fiction. Driven by a strong female cast and with the superstar himself and R. Balki as producers, this real story saw huge audience empathy and it became Kumar’s first 200 crore grossing film, and considering its reasonable budget, a super-hit.
Bihar and Odisha surprisingly ensured that the Hindi version of the tri-lingual “Saaho” did reasonably well. Alas! The inane action epic could not pull in sustained crowds, and its Telugu (main) and Tamil version came croppers. Overall, this 100 crore film was a flop, and a major one at that.
Among the finest films of the year, this story of college friends and their unique reunion 20 years later, with homilies for families, students and society, was another masterpiece from Nitesh Tiwari of “Chillar Party” and “Dangal” fame. Outstanding performances and a fantabulous script helped this film sail past Rs. 150 crore. Another super-hit!
This film kayoed all opposition except the earlier release “Chhichhore.” A subtle message lay behind the very earthy and old-school entertainment it provided, with Ayushmann Khurrana getting his sixth hit in a row. Raaj Shandilyaa directed this laugh-a-thon that, again due to its slender budget, was declared a super-hit.
The latest YRF film has crossed Rs. 200 crore in five days, with no opposition in store for 22 days after release! Yes, part of this is due to inflated admission rates, but inflation-adjusted in a different sense, we can still say the film has crossed Rs. 125 crore. Hrithik Roshan is magnificent, and Tiger Shroff gives great company. The film, in the final analysis, is likely to be a hit, if not more.