The money makers this year

The business of Bollywood is a complex game. We have over 150 films releasing every year and only a few doing well at the box office. Notwithstanding this fact a lot of producer tag their films hits and super hits post release and promote it likewise. Very few of these claims actually happen to be true. In fact head honcho of T-Series Bhushan Kumar told me in a recent interview that profit in movie production is almost a myth. It’s rather a question of how less you lose!

Post recession however things look better as movies are back to being made in sane cost as opposite to outrageous expenditures which producers opted for while the economy was glowing high on the bulls. And that means better chances of the money being recovered. And no more are movie profits dependent on the box office collections. Major chunk of the producer’s earning come from Satellite rights, music rights etc. Nevertheless a film being called a hit of a flop still depends on its performance at the box office. Under such circumstances, 2010 has been one of the worst years for Bollywood in its entire history. A well known critic Rajiv Vijaykar remarked the last time there was such a Hit drought was in 1984 – a year of political tumult.

The last few years have consistently shown a decline in number of hits and average collections. That despite the fact that last couple of years have also seen the biggest hits of all – Ghajini and 3 Idiots – being released. These apart there have only been a handful of hits in this period. With the massive success of 3 Idiots there were expectations that people would be moving back to the theatres but nothing of that sort happened. As mentioned earlier 2010 only saw the drought get graver. So much that much hyped projects like Kites and Raavan ended up being disasters.

In this piece we shall look into a few movies that went on to become hits – actually – and the ones which should have been on basis of content but didn’t make it!

1) Ishqiya – Even as 3 Idiots continued to rake in the money ishqiya released alongside a much hyped Rann. The later bombed by Ishqiya rode on word of mouth and went to collect a decent sum of money. Though not really a hit, it got earned back the money invested and made all related to it happy. The film was directed by debutant Abhishek Chaubey.

2) Love, Sex aur Dhokha – Dibakar Banerjee’s LSD rode on absolute hype. It cost almost nothing in comparison to other movies and made a cool Rs 8 crore, giving its distributors reasons to be happy. But of course for people who play in crores, profits in lakhs in not really a success. The bottom-line – LSD worked only because it was such an non-expensive film.

3) Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge – This Ashwini Dhir film is probably one of the biggest surprises of the year. Probably the outright biggest surprise when it comes to a success. Ajay Devgn and Konkona Sen Sharma were already riding on hits and their streak continued with this film. Family values and great humour and low price helped this film turn into a hit.

4) Badmaash Company – Another debutant director Parmeet Sethi brought out a cool and fun film Badmaash Company with a down in dumps Shahid Kapoor in leads. A Yash Raj film, it was made cheap and sold cheap. Result – it made profits even on relatively low income. Badmaash Company was declared a success within a week.

5) Raajneeti – Easily one of the biggest movies of the year, Raajneeti lived up to expectation in every single way. It got critical acclaim and the praises of the audience. Raajneeti is probably the only movie this year to have a success party – valid one. This is by far the biggest hit of the year in terms of collections. Let’s say the only super hit of the year.

6) I Hate Luv Storys – Even as stars like Hrithik Roshan and Abhishek Bachchan failed, Sonam Kapoor and Imran Khan delivered a hit with I Hate Luv Storys. The film got a lot of flak from critics all over but the clever marketing and promotions did the trick. The film rode of absolute hype and took a fantastic opening. Result – the sinking careers of Imran Khan and Sonam Kapoor got a major boost. I Hate Luv Storys quickly collected rs 31 crore to recover all money on it and bring in profits.

7) My Name is Khan – My Name is Khan is probably the highest grosser this year. But that could not bring profits to the distributors Fox Star Studios who bought the film from Dharma Production for a speculated sum of Rs 98 crore. Despite the film riding on Shah Rukh, Kajol and Karan Johar magic it could not do as much business as expected and distributors suffered losses. The film is currently in the third phase of its release – a plan which will see it release across 70 countries.

8 ) Housefull – Personally I trashed this film. However the star value of Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone, Arjun Rampal, Lara Dutta and Riteish Deshmukh created a huge hype around this film which in turn got the film a grand opening. Housefull has got one of the biggest openings of all time. Sadly all its business was restricted to the first week, post which it didn’t work. Director Sajid Khan’s boisterous claims of Housefull being the biggest hit of Akshay Kumar’s career fell flat on its face. The first week however was enough to get most people profits on their investment.

9) Veer – Salman Khan’s magic work at the single screens. The film was later declared a flop but it still remains of the highest earners in the single screens ever. The film’s failure was in its inability to connect with the urban lot – which accounts of 60 per cent of a movie’s collection in today’s age.

This is the list of films that earned a decent sum of money this year. Meanwhile we had stunning losers in Rann, Teen Patti, Karthic Calling Karthik, Kites, Chance Pe Dance, Right Yaa Wrong, Lahore, Well Done Abba, Prince it’s Showtime, City of Gold and Raavan. While most of these were bad films some could not create interest among the audience through the promotions. That’s of course a completely different chapter and something we shall discuss another time. For now the industry is just hoping the second half gets better.

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