Finally, after some uninspiring releases, Bollywood has got its due in cinemas. Post Avengers: Infinity War (April 27) and to a considerable extent Baaghi 2 (March 30), which held fort at the box office in April, the last few weeks’ Hindi releases have done well. First, 102 Not Out (May 4), which has Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor teaming up after 27 years, struck a chord with cine-goers. The Umesh Shukla (of OMG: Oh My God! fame) directorial is nearing the Rs 50-crore mark at the Indian box office.
The Alia Bhatt-starrer Raazi, which came a week later, has already crossed Rs 85-cr mark (till May 23), and distributors are optimistic about it crossing Rs 100 cr in the coming days. While it’s known that Alia has it in her, the thriller, based on Harinder Sikka’s novel, Calling Sehmat, has hit the ball out of the park. The numbers have catapulted the actress in the bigger league and now she is at par with Deepika Padukone.
Says producer-distributor NR Pachisia, “Alia is a superstar and she proves it with Raazi. The success of the movie is also an indication that good content will always work. There was a vacuum in the interim, but interesting subjects have brought audiences to theatres.” While the trade expected these films to fare well, the numbers have surpassed their expectations. As distributor Aditya Chowksey points out, “After Deepika, Alia is the only other female superstar of this generation. She is miles ahead of her contemporaries.” Like Pachisia, he believes in the importance of substantial content. He explains, “The message the success of these films gives out is that filmmakers should believe in what they are making. If someone is making a film for the masses, he/she must forget what the high gentry will think and vice versa.”
Deadpool 2, which had Ranveer Singh dubbing for the Hindi version, did reasonably well, too. Its India collections are pegged at over Rs 38 cr, in all languages (till May 23). Avengers: Infinity War, which netted Rs 114. 83 cr in its first four days (till April 30), added approximately another Rs 112 cr to its India numbers (totalling about Rs 227 cr till May 23).
(Figures from trade sources)
WomEn directors hit BO bullseye
In recent years, we’ve seen women directors going great guns. Last year, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari wowed critics and audiences alike with her rom-com, Bareilly Ki Barfi. And now Meghna Gulzar reaffirms her stand as a director of substance. Her earlier film Talvar (2015), based on the Aarushi Talwar case, was a critical as well as commercial success. Raazi further consolidates her position as a director of reality-based stories. Calling her a ‘brilliant director’, Pachisia says, “The way Meghna has handled the film, speaks a lot about her control over her craft. It’s amazing how she has told real stories in cinema; you must give full marks to her for her storytelling and chalking out her own path instead of walking down the beaten path.”