• LIFe Thoughts

Changing Trends of Hindi Cinema: Failure of Stars at the Box Office

Updated: Dec 2, 2018

As we enter the last leg of 2018, the fate of most of the anticipated Hindi Films has been decided at the box office. Barring the hugely controversial Padmavat and the much awaited Sanju none of the films starring the so-called big names on Bollywood could manage to set cash registers ringing at theaters. Two of the biggest films of the year, Salman Khan’s Race 3 and the recent Amir Khan’s Thugs of Hindustan, were not only loathed by critics but failed to earn the kind of profits, one would have anticipated. Even as Shah Rukh Khan’s Zero which is awaiting a release in December could potentially turn tables, the writing on the wall for the larger part of the year hasn’t favoured the Stars of Hindi Cinema.

On one hand as we witnessed these ambitious star-studded extravaganzas collapse, on the other hand “small budget” films became blockbusters. Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety starring Karthik Aryan which released in February 2018 set the ball rolling as it broke into the 100-crore club thoroughly entertaining the audiences and critics alike. This was followed by Raazi starring Alia Bhatt and Vicky Kaushal which unlike other Dharma production films had a female director and was made on a constrained budget. Its phenomenal success did not just cement Alia Bhat’s top spot on the map, but also marked Vicky Kaushal’s foray into stardom. If 2017 was the year of Rajkumar Rao with incredible performances in films like Newton, Trapped, Bareily Ki barfi, 2018 righteously belonged to Vicky Kaushal. Apart from a stellar performance in Raazi, he followed it up with widely appreciated Netflix Films, Love per square foot and Lust Stories and amped it a notch higher with the unrivalled portrayal of Kamli in Sanju and Vicky Sandhu in Manmarziyaan. Despite being Son of famous action director Shyam Kaushal and yet having made it on his own, Vicky Kaushal is Bollywood’s answer to the wider debate on nepotism. However, towards the latter half of the year, Ayushman Khurana and his two very diverse characters in the thriller Andhadhun and the slice-of-life Badhai Ho became the talking point. Also deserving a special mention here is enormous success of Rajkumar Rao starrer Stree which redefined the genre of horror-comedy in Bollywood. Apart from these several other small budget films like Anurag Kashyap’s directorial Mukkabaaz, Irrfan Khan starrer Karwaan and Blackmail, Tapsee Pannu starrer Mulk, John Abraham starrer Parmanu were not just critically acclaimed but also proved to be commercial successes.

It can be reasonably concluded that 2018 was the year for smart scripts and small films big on ideas in Bollywood. Barring Akshay Kumar who continued his golden run with the success of Padman and Gold, no other super-star could remain unscathed. This ultimately testifies the evolving sensibilities of the Indian audiences and reinforces the statement- Content is King at the box office.