Will ‘Pk’ Do Likewise?

It’s that time of year, when we look back at the Bollywood barometer and scrutinise the hits and misses of 2014. It doesn’t take too much analysis to see that the year has unfortunately been a damp squib, even though 2014 did get off to a good start with Bollywood’s new breed scoring at the Bo. The industry grossed an estimated turnover of Rs.2,350 crore thus far and the sad news is that just seven of the nearly 180 releases surpassed the Rs.100 crore ($16 million) mark in the Hindi film industry. Will Aamir Khan’s PK give the industry the boom it is still looking for? Everyone’s hoping!

Bollywood’s newbies injected some fresh life into the industry. Hopes soared when a slew of films starring these rookies reaped in the profits. Tiger Shroff in HEROPANTI, Sidharth Malhotra in EK VILLAIN, Varun Dhawan in MAIN TERA HERO, Alia Bhatt in HIGHWAY, and Alia and Arjun Kapoor in 2 STATES  – they sure gave the box office lots to smile about.

However, the second half of the year turned out to be a huge disappointment. While some trade pundits declare it “a very bad year”, others like Cine Blitz trade columnist Komal Nahta prefers to term it an average year. “The start of 2014 was good, but towards the end there was a downfall. November was the worst month for the film industry in the last 15 to 20 years. All the films, including HAPPY ENDING, THE SHAUKEENS and KILL DIL bombed.”

The opinion in trade circles is that the flops in November contributed to a loss of Rs.100 crore at the box office in that month alone! Nobody predicted this disastrous performance considering these were films which had a lot of expectations riding on them. What’s worse, even the Prabhu Dheva-Ajay Devgn starrer ACTION JACKSON did not see much action at the turnstiles.

The films that did bring home the moolah were precious few… JAI HO (approximately Rs.110 crore), HOLIDAY: A SOLDIER IS NEVER OFF DUTY (Rs.110 crore), 2 STATES (Rs.105 crore), KICK (over Rs.200 crore), BANG BANG (Rs.145 crore), HAPPY NEW YEAR (Rs.188 crore) and SINGHAM RETURNS (Rs.140 crore). Almost reaching the magic Rs.100 crore figure were EK VILLAIN (Rs.96 crore) and HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIA (Rs.86 crore).

That said, the Rs.100 crore tag itself is not seen as that great a benchmark anymore. As trade wiz Vinod Mirani explains, the film that did cross the Rs.100 crore mark were made on a huge budget and thus didn’t make huge profits. What they essentially did, was recover their money.

If one looks at content, the year did give us some reason to rejoice. We saw women-centric films stand shoulder to shoulder with the usual macho male dominated fare. MARDAANI, QUEEN, MARY KOM, HIGHWAY, DEDH ISHQIYA and REVOLVER RANI gave our leading ladies something to sink their acting chops into. What’s more, they were largely greeted with a positive response. HIGHWAY, for instance, garnered Rs.30 crore, while MARY KOM collected Rs.54 crore. Even RAGINI MMS 2 featuring Sunny Leone made Rs.50 crore, while the Kangana Ranaut-starrer QUEEN made Rs.55 crore and MARDAANI, the not unsubstantial Rs.40 crore.

Offbeat films which were greeted with critical appreciation include CITYLIGHTS, HAWAA HAWAAI, JAL, LAKSHMI and HAIDER. Small and medium-budget films didn’t fare too badly at the stakes. While HAIDER collected Rs.50 crore, Amole Gupte’s HAWAA HAWAAI and Hansal Mehta’s CITYLIGHTS made Rs.10 crore.

Hope still beats for BollyWood in the shape of PK… All eyes are on this December 19 release, which brings together the 3 IDIOTS hit trio of Aamir, director Rajkumar Hirani and producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra. While no one is harbouring hopes of the capacity of one huge hit to write off all the wrongs of 2014, the general feeling is that it would help to end the year on a bright and happy note at the box office.

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