The first quarter of 2019 has ended on a good note. The year started off with Vicky Kaushal starrer ‘Uri – The Surgical Strike’, which worked supreme at the box-office. Three months into the year 2019, and we had back two back blockbusters in Hindi cinema.  Films like ‘Gully Boy’, ‘Manikarnika’, ‘Luka Chuppi’, ‘Total Dhamaal’, ‘Badla’ and ‘Kesari’ have contributed in making the first quarter of the year phenomenal. The first quarter had been a mix baggage of genres, breaking the myth of trends.The audience is clearly in a mood for content that is entertaining and compelling. Here, we spoke to our industry experts about how the first quarter of 2019 has been for Hindi cinema and which has been their favorite film.

APOORVA MEHTA (CEO & PRODUCER – DHARMA PRODUCTIONS)
The first quarter of the year has exceeded all expectations and been the best despite of the fact that it’s traditionally known to witness slow box-office collections. A host of films have done remarkably well, proving to be profitable in a period that wasn’t considered. In January, ‘Uri’ got the year off to a perfect start and was followed by ‘Gully Boy’ in February that did exceptionally well. ‘Lukka Chuppi’ and ‘Badla’ have been two other films that have performed commendably and added to the tally. Breaking all records has been ‘Kesari’ that has become the fastest film to cross the coveted 100 crore marks in 2019. We look to take this momentum into the second quarter as well. The best is yet to come, as we start with the highly-anticipated ‘Kalank’ that will set the ball rolling for another profitable quarter.

RAMESH TAURANI (PRODUCER)
The first quarter has been really good for the industry, it’s been excellent and majority films have done well.  ‘Uri’ did phenomenally well and has surprised everyone. I hope all the three quarters also go the way we have seen the first quarter.  The best thing about the first quarter is that – all the content driven films and all the commercial films have done well.  Where ‘Uri’ and ‘Kesari’ did great, at the same time ‘Badla’ and out and out commercial film like ‘Total Dhamaal’ has done well. It’s a good sign for the industry that people are enjoying all kind of films. And I can’t pick any favorite because I liked all the films from the first quarter.

MILAN LUTHRIA (DIRECTOR)

I think it is phenomenal as we have six hits and all belong to a different genre. We saw some franchise film, foreign remakes, historical, patriotic films and many more to which I would say – all films are working today which is a great sign and start of the year. There are two things that stand out from which the first thing is the content. Whether it is a new actor like Vicky Kaushal vs an established superstar it does not matter today because the film can hit any numbers. All kinds of content and actors are being accepted today. There were places where we didn’t have cinema halls but today films are reaching to places.  Five to ten years back a small budget film would hit 300-400 screens but today it is reaching 3000-4000 screens and that is the big difference which is contributing to the numbers. Also through social media and word of mouth the film is all over the place within no time, just by the term tradition word of mouth. This all is just icing on the cake. The main thing is, we are making better films, better stories to tell, we were being bold enough to not use Pakistan as a name in any movie, we did not remake foreign films, neither did we make heroine oriented movies on big scale and we are doing it all today so it a very good screen board for the rest of the year. I haven’t seen all the movies so it would be unfair to pick a movie but I really liked ‘URI’ a lot.

AMIT KHANNA (WRITER, FILM-MAKER)

It’s been a good year so far, but I just have one concern which I have been repeating since last three years that – with time the cost of production is going high. And if we use the old benchmark of success then we are actually being unrealistic. So, you can’t’ apply the 100 croretrick. ‘Badla’ is a hit but you can’t compare it with ‘Piku’ which happened four years ago; similarly, with all other films. I am happy that 8-9 films which have been very successful and at least 3-4 big hits in the first quarter. So that is something we should be celebrating. On the other hand, I think we should start raising the standard. When the inflation goes up, you measure it against a certain benchmark. We all should celebrate success with respect to their cost of production, are definitely big hit. So far, the year is great at the movies but I am only putting a question that; we should stop measuring new success with old standards.

MANOJ DESAI (EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF GAIETY GALAXY MUTILPLEX AND MARATHA MANDIR CINEMA)
I think all the films have done a good job in the first quarterand ‘Uri’ has done exceptional well.  But there were a few films we were expecting a lot from, for instance – Akshay Kumar starrer ‘Kesari’ which did above average. The good part is no film was below average so I would definitely consider this quarter has a good start.  We are much awaiting for ‘Kalank’ and are expecting from the film.

ANIL SHARMA (DIRECTOR)

The start of the year has been really good as there were beautiful, good films released this year. Bollywood has entered the marquee of producing good movies with great content. Every genre is working today as there has been a vast change in the taste of audience as well as the writer. The movies that keep you connected are the movies that are gaining success at a massive rate. There are many movies that did really well on the screen and it will be unfair of me to select one has my favorite.

MILAP ZAVERI (WRITER, DIRECTOR)

I think it’s been a historic first quarter. We thought the first quarter was terrificbut this one has even crossed that. We had a blockbuster like ‘Simmba’, I would call ‘Simmba’ in the first quarter because it released almost end of last year. We have all time blockbuster like ‘Simmba’, ‘Uri’, hit like ‘Manikarnika’, super hit like ‘Luka Chuppi’, ‘Badla’, ‘Gully Boy’, ‘Kesari’, ‘Total Dhamaal’. Practically every week there has been one hit and I enjoyed all of them. The best part is that everygenre has been a hit. A complete brainless comedy like ‘Total Dhamaal’ which became successful hit and which I personally loved. Every film which has done well has been of a different genre, of a different sensibility. It shows that audiences are coming to the theatre in big ways this year and once more the big myth that the digital will take away the audiences that is completely unaccounted, because audiences are going to theatre to watch movies.Out of all these films, I think I enjoyed all of them so it’s difficult to pick one favorite. Every film that has done well and has given a different high on emotions, touchwood it’s a great first quarter and I am looking forward for the next quarter being even better.

TANUJ GARG (PRODUCER, MANAGING PARTNER ELLIPSIS ENTERTAINMENT)

It’s been an interesting first quarter. Diverse genres found acceptance: Comic capers, thrillers, action sagas, top lined mostly by newcomers. The audience is clearly in a mood for content that is entertaining and compelling. The robust performance of some films even in the exam period has been conventionally seen as lucrative,busted age-old myths. There’s nothing like a “good” or “bad” period; a good, acclaimed film will find its audience whether in theatres or online. The rest of 2019 will see promising films. It’s going to be a happy year. Ellipsis will have one film going into pre-production and one going to shoot in the second half of the year.

RITESH SHAH (WRITER)

The first quarter has been the best in recent times because from 80 plus films with vivid themes only 7 to 8 movies were hits and I think never has any quarter done this great. It is a great time for movies with good content which makes it to be a good start for the year. This is a time where movies with vivid genres are doing well. We saw ‘Total Dhamaal’ doing well as well as ‘Gully Boy’ even after being two different themes. ‘Gully Boy’ is my favorite from the first quarter.

RAJESH THADANI (DISTRIBUTOR)

The first quarter has been excellent and couple of films has worked as compared to the last year first quarter. Small and bigfilms both have worked and according to me it’s a great time. As far as the content is concern and if the content of the film is good, it works. I hope the upcoming films too have a good content and other quarters are as promising as the first one.  My favorite is ‘Uri’ and ‘Badla’.

SUNIR KHETERPAL, (PRODUCER OF AZURE ENTERTAINMENT)

It has been one of the best first quarters for Hindi Cinema ever in terms of box-office gross and success ratio of films. I think this augurs well for the remaining part of 2019 and we might as well end up having a record year for Hindi films. I am happy enough to be associated with two of the best performing films in this quarter.

AMOD MEHRA (TRADE ANAYLST)

In the first quarter, there were around 30 films released from which 6 films did well. And that is not bad if you consider nearly 20% of them have done well.  We had ‘Uri’, ‘Total Dhamaal’, ‘Manikarnika’, ‘Kesari’, ‘Badla’, and ‘Gully Boy’. We didn’t see any trend, it was a mix batch of everything and all sorts of films worked.  Right from a patriotic film like ‘Uri’ and ‘Kesari’ to brainless comedy film like ‘Total Dhamaal’. And suspense film like ‘Badla’ to a historic heroine orientated film like ‘Manikarnika’ to ‘Gully Boy’ which was an offbeat and a different kind of cinema. This first quarter has proved that there is no trend and every kind of cinema is working.  There were a few exceptional like ‘Total Dhamaal’ which proves that we will always love our stupid comedy and slapstick comedy.  On one hand, where we want more of different kind of cinema at the same time we are very content backing non sensitive films, as long as they are entertaining us. Off late, the first quarter has been really good as compared to the years which were bad but now the films are working despite exams, IPL, elections are coming, it’s a good sign and we are all hopeful that the year will be very good. My favorite film that I would like to pick would be ‘Gully Boy’ because it breaks all kind of myth, it has got no big sets, it has no glamour, shown poverty, first time we see our hero as a very poor man – it is a different kind of cinema which has done fantastically well.  ‘Uri’ has been the phenomenal big hit and made Vicky Kaushal to a super star. It’s been an encouraging year so far.

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