Deepika in ‘Padmavat’
Deepika in ‘Padmavat’

It is always extremely premature to judge how a year will unfold on the basis of the first two months. Having said that, sometimes the first two months do set the mood for the rest of the year. Given the kind of first two months Bollywood have given us if I were an investor or producer I would be very worried.

Look at the successes of 2018 first. Technically we have three big hits so far. ‘Padmaavat’, ‘Padman’ and ‘1921’. Yes, you read the last name right. ‘1921’ by the simple measurement of cost to profit is probably second only to ‘Padmaavat’, and as the year goes by this point about ‘1921’ will become even stronger. That exactly is the scary part of 2018. The movies - all anticipated ones have either not done as well or have underperformed.

‘Padmaavat’ has been a colossal hit, which means that the audience loved it but look hard given the kind of national rage this movie had become. Probably it got its numbers because of curiosity too. I know a good percentage, who did not like the movie but since their ticket purchase counts too in the box office numbers no one can deny ‘Padmaavat’ is a hit. Even otherwise law of fairness says you cannot call a hit movie disappointing. We can always debate on how a movie might have got its audiences.

Padman’s numbers are impressive given the kind of taboo theme it spoke about. Even today in smaller towns we hear family audiences either avoided or took time to turn up for this movie. Nevertheless, ‘Padman’ remains a fine balance of entertainment and BO success - so far the only movie in 2018 which justified its hype.

1921’s box office success is an indicator of how entertainment starved Bollywood audience is and how a low-cost horror movie is totally a winning bet in today’s Bollywood. That said the content of this movie was so zilch that anything that it has earned above Rs 5 crores is a miracle. So far it has earned 24 crores and sits on the number 4 rank of 2018’s top earners - which is the biggest indicator of how disappointingly 2018 has opened.

The danger signs are in the way of some of our more celebrated makers’ movies have performed. Look at the case of ‘Mukkabaaz’ every reviewer worth his salt went crazy about this movie. You will find very rare dissatisfied reviews of this movie. Made at a shoe string budget of Rs 10 crores this movie has got in a worldwide collection of Rs.11 crores. The point is it sits at number five rank of biggest hits of 2018 so far. ‘Kaalakandi’ another dud released on the same date as this one earned equal amount at half or less critics praise.

In short, audiences have not turned up for what Bollywood has offered in 2018. It is not just Anurag Kashyap kind of makers who are not exactly dud contributors so far. Anurag in any case is not exactly considered to be the master of Box Office. Even a Neeraj Pandey has added to the gloom of 2018 so far. Here is a maker who could do nothing wrong when it came to thrillers and his latest ‘Aiyaary’ has had audiences snoozing in the theatre. Neeraj Pandey has delivered his first bore story in 2018.

Frankly had ‘Aiyaary’ hit the mark at the box office it would have given a very different aura to Box Office. What has added to the problems of 2018 so far is that the so called dark horses like ‘Vodka Diaries’ have only galloped into darkness before the audiences could even decide to give the movie a shot.

The only thing that can still give all of us Bollywood buffs hope is that some of the upcoming movies’ trailers are looking really promising. The ones like ‘Baaghi2’, ‘Raid’ and ‘Pari’ in particular raise some hopes. Which means the fear that these two months have generated could be totally misplaced. In any case, most Bollywood years have a ratio of ten percent hits; the point is that these ten percent hit movies are well spread across the year, which has not happened in this case. 

Let us hope this is not a repeat of 2017.