Despite the fact that there were no big names on the silver screen, Hindi Film Industry has begun 2019 on a resounding note.
The beginning of the year month saw Bollywood present some compelling stories that raked in more moolah than its corresponding month last year. This was possible even when it did not have a big blockbuster movie showing this time round. Apart from some alternate cinema, two movies returned with decent money; Uri: The Surgical Strike & Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi. Together January saw collections in the range of Rs 350-355 crore & that easily surpassed last year’s revenue by 10-15 crores.
It is heartening to note that the Vicky Kaushal-starrer war drama has created a record of sorts & broken one long standing myth of the industry. It is said that not many New Year openers are expected to do well at the box office even when we had this myth broken by Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Padmaavat last year. Uri’s success though unexpected hasn’t come as a big shock. Another January surprise is Kangana Ranaut-starrer Manikarnika that witnessed a healthy pace at the box office despite being a women oriented film. January also saw a spill over effect of Simmba that released last year in December. Other small-ticket films like Thackeray, Accidental Prime Minister contributed significantly to the overall collection in January.
Trade analysts believe that such great opening would bring bigger hopes for the coming months. Coupled with fact that this January had a mix of genres and many compelling stories to offer, it still turned out be a lucrative month for the industry. In 2018, apart from Padmaavat there were no major successes in January. Films like Kaalakaandi, Mukkabaaz and 1921 could not add much to the overall film business. On the regional front too, January has emerged as a strong year with films like Petta and Viswasam. The festival of Pongal, a four-day holiday period, made a huge difference to the revenue of the two films.
Indian films have not only scored well on their home turf in January this year but have made a mark in the overseas markets as well. Back in 2000, Hrithik Roshan had emerged as the heartthrob of the new millennium when his debut flicks Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai had emerged as a huge Blockbuster. The film had opened well but then showed rapid momentum in weeks to follow that allowed a major run for it in theatres. Ever since then many a newcomer emerged on the scene but couldn’t replicate this kind of success with their very first films.
Now as a relative newcomer, Vicky Kaushal has broken the record set by Hrithik Roshan 19 years back. In his first role as a leading man in a commercial film, he has scored an All Time Blockbuster with Uri – The Surgical Strike. The film has gone past the 200-crore mark already, a feat that no new entrant in the industry has ever achieved. A careful look at the members of the 200 Crore Club, the list is dominated by the three Khans; Salman, Aamir and Shah Rukh. This is followed by Ranveer Singh, Ranbir Kapoor, Ajay Devgun and Hrithik Roshan. Each of these superstars has been the veteran in the business and scored their first 200 crore or 300 crore film after spending a good time in the industry.
But Vicky Kaushal has achieved this in the quickest possible time and that brings him a huge standing in the industry. Thankfully, in recent times, there has been a flurry of new entrants making their mark in Bollywood. Ayushmann Khurranna (Badhaai Ho), Rajkummar Rao (Stree) and Kartik Aryan (Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety) have scored a century each too and the onus is now on them to take a step forward to the 200-crore mark, something that Vicky Kaushal has achieved now. Meanwhile, last week’s release Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga has not done well at all. The film has barely managed to cross the Rs 20 crores and it may not go beyond Rs 25 crore life time. This is a very poor result for the film considering the fact that Sonam Kapoor was leading the show along with Anil Kapoor and Raj kummar Rao. The film did have its moments but then audiences chose not to even give it a chance. Critics were still supportive of the Shelly Chopra Dhar’s directorial outing but there wasn’t much buzz around the film and while the opening wasn’t good, the follow through wasn’t there either and as a result, the footfalls just fell flat right through the week.
This is now a rare flop for Sonam Kapoor since otherwise she has been having a largely good run with Veere Di Wedding, PadMan, Neerja, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, Dolly Ki Doli and Khoobsurat as her last six releases. Her last flop was Bewakoofiyaan which was five years back, and even before that she had two back to back successes in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Raanjhanaa], which makes it a very impressive overall run for Sonam Kapoor. Meanwhile, Kangana Ranaut has finally seen success after four years. Her last biggie was Tanu Weds Manu Returns which had emerged as a Blockbuster. However, I Love NY , Katti Batti , Rangoon and Simran were all commercial as well as critical disappointments. Now Manikarnika – The Queen of Jhansi has managed to succeed.
The film has gone past the Rs 85-crore mark after two weeks and is now heading for the 100 Crore Club. Though the film did fall briefly after scoring an impressive weekend due to the Republic Day holiday, it still continued to sail along. That was evidenced even more in the second week when the collections stayed stable. Now that the third week has started well too, the film would just about manage to scrape through the 100-crore mark. This would be a huge moral victory for Kangana Ranaut as she also finds mention as a director on the credits, and with this, she is the only female actor-director to manage such a feat.