Celebrations for an impressive 2018 are barely over but Bollywood already has much up its sleeve. With about 30 A-list films lined up, film trade experts say the industry is looking at an exciting summer with nearly 1,500-1,700 crore riding on the offerings.

The first half of 2018 had clocked in about 2,210 crore from movie theatres in India, a 14% increase from the 1,931 crore earned in the first six months of 2017.

“It should be both an exciting and challenging time for the movie business," said Atul Mohan, editor of trade magazine Complete Cinema. “The line-up is super impressive, there are a minimum of two big films every month. But there are quite a few challenges too."

(Sarvesh Kumar Sharma/Mint)

This time there is the Cricket World Cup and, more importantly, the general elections, and the overall mood of the country, including on social media, is likely to be geared towards the latter, said Mohan. This is in contrast with previous years when the movie industry only had to contend with pan-India school examinations and the Indian Premier League in the first half of the year, he said.

“It’s important to note that India is also maturing as a film market and there is a certain immunity to outside factors if the content is really good," said film trade and exhibition expert Girish Johar. He pointed to the massive numbers raked in by Uri: The Surgical Strike recently ( 122.24 crore at last count) and Padmaavat (R282.28 crore) last year, both released at the peak of winter, a time when traditionally people didn’t like to step out of home, at least in North India. Of late, occasions such as Holi and Valentine’s Day have also gained prominence and people look forward to having a good time, providing further opportunity for the movie business.

The line up of the first six months holds much promise. On Friday, Kangana Ranaut-starrer Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi released along with Thackeray, a biopic on late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

“Manikarnika was always crafted like a big film meant to be released on a national scale," said Shariq Patel, chief executive, Zee Studios, and co-producer of the film . “This is the story of a national hero that everyone is aware of but details around whom are sketchy."

Filmmakers are realizing that audiences are looking for grandeur and spectacle, Patel said. It is important to lure them into theatres because people need an experience that justifies the big screen.

Manikarnika will be followed, in February, by Anil Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor-starrer Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga, Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy and Total Dhamaal, starring Ajay Devgn, Madhuri Dixit and Anil Kapoor.

March will see Dibakar Banerjee’s romantic thriller Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar starring Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra, Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu-starrer Badla, co-produced by Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment, period drama Kesari starring Akshay Kumar and Parineeti Chopra, and black comedy Mental Hai Kya featuring Rajkummar Rao and Kangana Ranaut.

The Zoya Factor, an adaptation of the Anuja Chauhan novel of the same name, starring Dulquer Salmaan and Sonam Kapoor, and Karan Johar’s Kalank featuring an ensemble cast of Madhuri Dixit, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Sanjay Dutt, among others, are scheduled for April.

May will see Johar’s Student Of The Year 2 and a detective thriller, India’s Most Wanted, starring Arjun Kapoor. Along with Salman Khan’s annual Eid offering, in this case, a drama titled Bharat, June has the Shahid Kapoor-starrer Kabir Singh, a remake of Telugu blockbuster Arjun Reddy.

“The biggest lesson from 2018 is that if content is king, the audience is the king-maker and that is a fact that even the biggest stars have accepted. If money is put where the mouth is, 2019 has the potential to be more pleasant than 2018," Mohan said.

× My Reads Logout