Shah Rukh Khan
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The first half of the year has passed by in a jiffy and it has seen some rather interesting developments, to say the least. While some mighty have fallen, there have been underdogs turning absolute winners. Here’s a list of what we collected over the last six months, and the films that shall remain with us.
There may be enough disagreement, but the year so far seems to belong to Akshay Kumar, Alia Bhatt and Sonam Kapoor. Akshay Kumar lifted the expectations, quite literally, for what was about to follow during the year with Airlift. The thriller not only got rave reviews, it also remains the highest grossing Bollywood film of the year so far with Rs123 crore at the domestic box office. Akshay of course also gave us Housefull 3. Good or bad, that’s the only other Bollywood film to enter the Rs100 crore club this year.
Sonam Kapoor delivered the only other superhit of the year (so far) with Neerja. The film not only wowed the audiences but also gave them a peek into the actress that Sonam Kapoor can be. Neerja grossed Rs75.61 crore (domestic). Alia Bhatt made the world notice her with two fabulous performances, and became a force to be reckoned with! While she managed to stand out in a role of not much significance in Kapoor and Sons, she wowed everyone with her ability to deliver a spectacular performance in the role of a lifetime in Udta Punjab.
But the biggest winner of this year, so far, however, is not one that got made by an Indian producer. Disney’s The Jungle Book, featuring a young lad called Neel Sethi, released in multiple languages in India grossed a whopping Rs 184 crore making it one of the highest grossing films in India ever!
Shah Rukh Khan received critical applause for his work in Fan. But that is all that this much-awaited film got. The film became the first SRK film in 5 years to not cross the 100 crore mark.
R Madhavan came up with a stellar Saala Khadoos but failed to cut through at the box office. Though wonderful, films like Aligarh (Rs 2 crore) and Raman Raghav 2.0 (Rs 5.5 crore), which garnered a lot of critical acclaim, failed commercially at the Box-Office.
One of the biggest learnings of the year for Bollywood would be – Sunny and sleaze do not necessarily sell. Sunny Leone with all her seductive powers could not get films like Mastizaade and One Night Stand to work. And neither did the awful escapades like Kya Kool Hai Hum 3 and Love Games show any collection at the Box-Office.
Another lesson learnt would be that franchise sequels do not need to work either. Apart from Kya Kool Hai Hum 3, we saw Prakash Jha and Himesh Reshammiya failing with Jai Gangajal and Teraa Surroor respectively. Same goes with 1920 London, Tere Bin Laden Dead or Alive and Ghayal Once Again. None of these films pleased the audience. Housefull 3 just about managed to scrape past the profitable mark.
The worst of the year also include Sarbjit, Ki and Ka, Azhar and Fitoor – all four highly anticipated projects and yet delivering nothing but massive disappointment.
The year’s biggest controversy so far possibly would be the one around the release of Udta Punjab. While the producers fought a legal battle against the CBFC to get the film released, the tremendous public outrage against the certification body’s ancient ways could very well be a statement of how the new generation feels about censorship and content served to them.
On multiple occasions this year, Hollywood clashed with Bollywood and won. While there have been one-off cases earlier, the contrast has to be at its starkest this year when The Jungle Book managed to outshine one of India’s biggest stars Shah Rukh Khan. The signals are clear, either you create content that matches Hollywood or succumb.
With films like Sultan, Rustom, Dangal, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Rock On!! 2, Kahaani 2 and Befikre lined up for the second half of the year, let’s expect for the things to get brighter.
By Noyon Jyoti Parasara
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