New Delhi: After a first half that saw small wonders like “Uri – The Surgical Strike” and “Luka Chuppi” win over the audiences, Bollywood has an exciting slate lined up for the second half of 2019. The festival seasons of Diwali and Christmas are expected to light up the box office with big ticket films like “Housefull 4” and “Dabangg 3”.
The last part of the year looks more exciting, says Shibasish Sarkar, Group CEO, Reliance Entertainment.
“This year, unconventional stories have come and broken out,” Sarkar told IANS, pointing out that perhaps the only two box office disappointments were “Student Of The Year 2” and “Kalank”.
In the conventional sense, both were ‘biggies’ in the Bollywood circuit.
But now the year looks more promising.
The slate includes Hrithik Roshan-starrer “Super 30”, Kangana Ranaut-Rajkummar Rao starrer “Judgementall Hai Kya”, Diljit Dosanjh’s “Arjun Patiala”, Richa Chadha’s “Section 375”, Sonakshi Sinha-starrer “Khandaani Shafakhana”, Sidharth Malhotra-Parineeti Chopra starrer “Jabariya Jodi” in July.
August will witness the release of John Abraham’s much-awaited “Batla House”, followed by Akshay Kumar-starrer “Mission Mangal” and “Saaho”, which stars Prabhas and Shraddha Kapoor.
Come September, the slate includes the franchise film “Commando 3”, Saif Ali Khan’s “Laal Kaptaan”, Ayushmann Khurrana-Nushrat Bharucha starrer “Dream Girl”, Amitabh Bachchan-starrer “Jhund”, Sonam K. Ahuja’s “The Zoya Factor” and “Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas”, which will mark the acting debut of Sunny Deol’s son Karan.
The October-December period will be dotted by Bollywood entertainers like “The Sky Is Pink”, “Housefull 4”, “Saand Ki Aankh”, “Pagalpanti”, “Bhoot – Part One: The Haunted Ship”, “Bala”, “Jawaani Jaaneman”, “Panipat”, “Pati, Patni Aur Woh” and “Dabangg 3”. The year will end with “Good News”.
With such an eclectic mix of movies, film and trade expert Girish Johar said he is betting big only on “content”.
“The performance of recent films like ‘Badla’ and ‘Uri…’ have shown that the audience is coming to theatres irrespective of who is headlining the films, and the success of ‘Bharat’ and ‘Total Dhamaal’ indicates that the audience also wants to see a good cast,” he told IANS.
The past six months have been especially great for smaller films.
“Indians are high on films this year. So far the year has been quite good for Hindi, regional and international films in terms of the box office as well as the content, but full of surprises.
“We have seen hits to blockbusters like ‘Uri…’, ‘Gully Boy’, ‘Total Dhamaal’, ‘Luka Chuppi’, ‘Badla’, ‘Kesari’, ‘De De Pyaar De’, ‘Bharat’ and more recently ‘Kabir Singh’ (still getting good footfalls) in Bollywood where ‘Avengers: Endgame’ crossed every Indian film and became the highest grosser of 2019 so far,” Mohan Umrotkar, CEO, Carnival Cinemas, told IANS.
He said Vivek Agnihotri’s “The Tashkent Files” turned out to be a sleeper hit this year.
Distributor Rajesh Thadani said the first half of 2019 fared better for Bollywood than it did in the past one or two years, both in terms of occupancy and business.
But Johar said the first half, which also saw the release of “Article 15”, has been “mixed”.
“Seeing the line-up this year, one expected a good hike in box office. The first half saw a business of Rs 2200 crore (including Hollywood) last year at the Indian box office.
“This time I was expecting much more, but we made around Rs 2400 crore. Had it been a raise of 20 per cent, it would have been great. Now the second half promises a lot of good releases. I think we can definitely catch up in the second half,” Johar said.