New Delhi: What has traditionally been considered a dull period due to the cold in north India is now emerging as a lucrative box office opportunity. The month of January not just saw late December release, Ranveer Singh-starrer Simmba spring to 239.59 crore but it also threw up a pleasant surprise with war drama Uri: The Surgical Strike that has been made for less than 50 crore but is steadily galloping towards 200 crore.

“Uri, of course played the patriotism card but it’s also a well-timed, well-made and packaged film," said film trade and exhibition expert Girish Johar. He added that while January has not always been an exciting period for movie business, the trend started changing around 2017 with Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees that managed 137.51 crore while Padmaavat consolidated the evolution with 302.15 crore last year.

Ashish Saksena, chief operating officer – Cinemas at BookMyShow added that January is now a conducive month as at least one blockbuster is slated to release on Republic Day. The month is good for the southern market too as major releases are planned around Pongal.

Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi, too, gained momentum with strong word-of-mouth and the collections have been growing each day. Besides a great opening, the film also witnessed an almost 100% growth over the weekend," Saksena said. The Kangana Ranaut-starrer had earned 52.40 crore at last count while the other biopic, Thackeray, on the life of former Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray had collected 22.90 crore.

Other Hindi film offerings of the month, Emraan Hashmi-starrer Why Cheat India, Govinda’s Rangeela Raja and Arshad Warsi’s Fraud Saiyaan have only managed 8.45 crore, 19 lakh and 52 lakh respectively.

Hollywood didn’t have the best month this time with science fiction film Bumblebee remaining the only standout performer at 7.66 crore. The south Indian market, however, made the best of the Pongal holiday with Rajinikanth’s Petta and Ajith’s Viswasam, both storming the box office, and nearing the 200 crore mark worldwide.

To be sure, there is much to look forward to next month. Starting with Anil Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor and Rajkummar Rao-starrer Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga this week, there is Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt’s Gully Boy directed by Zoya Akhtar mid-month and comedy Total Dhamaal featuring an ensemble cast of Ajay Devgn, Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Riteish Deshmukh, Arshad Warsi and Javed Jaffrey.

All figures have been sourced from movie website Bollywood Hungama.

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