2018 has been a great year at the movies – for the fact that it gave newer hope, and renewed enthusiasm. Not to mention, it broke many myths or existing stereotypes. If you thought that commercial, larger-than-life movies are now passé – there was a ‘Padmaavat’, ‘Sanju’, ‘Baaghi 2’ and the year ending with a bang with ‘Simmba’. On the other hand, the belief that unique films just reach up to a particular audience – was proven wrong yet again. There was ‘Stree’, ‘Andhadhun’, ‘Badhaai Ho’ amidst more. Basically, like always, you can’t predict the future of movies – and solely, the ‘aam junta’, takes the call. It’s been a good year at the movies and here’s summing it up. Also, we have industry insiders, giving their insight into the year gone by.

Consecutive 100crore movies in the first half

The first half of the year saw at least one film getting into the 100-crore club every month. Starting with ‘Padmavat’, there was ‘Sonu Ke Titu Ke Sweety’, ‘Baaghi 2’, ‘Raazi’, ‘Race 3’ and ‘Sanju’. In that sense, it’s been a historic year. Even in the second half, many movies like ‘Stree’, ‘Gold’, ‘Andhadhun’, ‘Badhaai Ho’ ‘2.0’and ‘Simmba’ gave the industry a reason to celebrate.

A mixed bag

A bouquet of films have done exceedingly well this year and it’s this mix which is quite interesting. One cannot just say that a particular kind of film has done well. If ‘Andhadhun’ was talked about, so was ‘Badhaai Ho’. While women-oriented films like ‘Stree’ and ‘Raazi’ were well-accepted, even the bigger, commercial movies continued to rule. Case in point, ‘Baaghi 2’ and ‘Simmba’. So, there’s been a mixed bag. One can never pinpoint, which genre is doing well. A good film will be accepted, irrespective of the genre.

Mass meets class

Today, it’s not that only the multiplex going audience that has gone to watch ‘Andhadhun’ or ‘Raazi’. Even the single screen audiences have enjoyed watching films which are intelligent, and not run-of-the-mill. That divide has kind of disappeared and the line between the masses and classes has kind of blurred now.

A year of rising stars

It’s been a year of rising stars – literally! One has seen an array of young talent come to the forefront and prove their mettle. While they’ve delivered top-notch performances, they’ve also perhaps managed to increase their fan following amidst the audience. The young talent has perhaps saved the day for the industry, when some bigger films failed to make an impact. Ayushmann Khurrana had two diverse roles in the form of ‘Andhadhun’ and ‘Badhaai Ho’. Vicky Kaushal was seen in five varied roles – all his projects being successful, including the web-projects like ‘Lust Stories’ and ‘Love Per Square foot’. Rajkummar Rao had ‘Stree’ and something as diverse as ‘Omerta’. Debutants Sara Ali Khan, Jhanvi Kapoor, Ishan Khatter are here to stay as well! Clearly, this has been a year of rising stars!

Content over star-power proven literally

The fact that this year, the movies of all the three Khans bit the dust, despite releasing on big holidays – proves that the audience is now ready to watch content beyond their favourite stars! We’ve been saying this adage ‘Content over star-power’ for a while now but this year, it was proved more than ever-before. The industry looks forward to some great footfalls, and big numbers through these big-budget star movies and their failure is the most disappointing!

Web-series coming to the forefront than ever before

Web is the future and rightly so, considering how web a platform has flourished greatly this year with path-breaking content. Be it content of Netflix and Amazon, or the web-series produced by Zee5 and AltBalaji – we’ve seen some great content on the web and the trend is here to say! Not to mention, big movie actors have also jumped onto this bandwagon like never before. The success of ‘Sacred Games’, ‘Lust Stories’ amidst many more – has been phenomenal!

Industry Opinion

Ramesh Taurani, Producer

I think it was a great year, despite two-three disappointments. The highlight was good content and the fact that new-age cinema has done well. Out of the box ideas have worked which is a great sign. It was also a good year for us, as we released our big franchise, ‘Race 3’. While films like ‘Badhaai Ho’, ‘Raazi’, ‘Andhadhun’, ‘Stree’ have done well, some films also under-performed. ‘Gold’ should have done more business, ‘Race 3’ should have done better. The only disturbing trend of 2018 was – too much negativity on the big eventful films when they released – like ‘Padmavat’. That was the worst part of the year and I hope that doesn’t continue this year. Even 2019 looks promising, starting with ‘Uri’, ‘Manikarnika’, and ‘Thackeray’.

Vicky Kaushal, Actor

It’s just surprising for me that I started my career in 2015, and in three years I got to work with the directors I got to work with, in 2018. It’s been such a tremendous learning experience for me. I had never imagined I would have a year with multiple releases and with directors who are so humungous and amazing. I just thank God and my stars, but I’ve promised myself that I won’t take it for granted and will keep pushing myself to the best of my abilities!

Ritesh Shah, Writer

I thought 2018 was wonderful. So many fabulous stories came in. ‘October’, ‘Mulk’, ‘Stree’, ‘Andhadhun’, ‘Tumbadd’, ‘Badhaai Ho’ – being some of them. The audience has given us confidence to tell varied stories and our young stars have made some fantastic choices. All in all, a good year for me also as ‘Raid’ received appreciation as well as commercial success.

Milap Zaveri, Writer-Director

I think it was a fabulous year in general. I think we had one of the highest grossing years in the last decade or so. Despite the three films of the Khans, not doing the business you expected out of them, you still had such a high grossing year. ‘Stree’, ‘Badhaai ho’, ‘Andhadhun’, ‘Raazi’, ‘Parmaanu’, ‘Sanju’, ‘Baaghi 2’, and my own film ‘Satyamev Jayate’ did so well. The year ended with a bang with ‘Simmba’. It’s been a good mix of content and mass cinema both working this year. A lot of people used to say that commercial cinema is passé but I think ‘Baaghi 2’, ‘Satyamev Jayate’, ‘Simmba’ and also ‘KGF’ proved that ‘masala’ cinema will never go out of fashion. Personally, it’s been a great year for me. I was ecstatic to see the success of ‘Satyamev Jayate’. I didn’t expect these kind of numbers – it’s the biggest hit of John’s career. I think, it’s the biggest hit of my career. If someone had told me at the start of the year that you wteould shoot and release ‘Satyamev Jayate’ in 2018, it would become a superhit and in the same year I would start ‘Marjaawan’ – I would laugh at them and think they must be joking. For me, it’s been a year of miracle and a lot of hard work which has paid off. Now, I’m hopeful the streak continues with ‘Marjawaan’ which is releasing on October 2, again a national holiday. I hope the year continues being great for films in general. I hope 2019 gives us the big surprises which we got in 2018 and also the expected superhits to the business which people expect from them.

Rajesh Thadani, Distributor

I think it’s the smaller films which really worked better. ‘Badhaai Ho’, ‘Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety’, ‘Raazi’, ‘Stree’, ‘Andhadhun’ – these have worked very well and the year has ended very well with ‘Simmba’. I think ‘2.0’ also did well, and many others. So, this year, I think, it’s only the Khans who’ve spoilt it. If the movie doesn’t work, obviously the content is not great. Ultimately, it boils down to that. 2017 still had a ‘Bahubali’, 2018 didn’t have that but it was a good enough year, even without that. Now similar expectations are there from 2019 – some good films are coming out. Like I said, it’s the combination of smaller and bigger films doing good and that should continue making it a fruitful year hopefully.

Amod Mehra, Trade Analyst

It was a fantastic year. It was the most progressive year in the decade I think. Though all the three Khans failed but there was a lot of cheer with a lot of good cinema which worked. On one had we had ‘Andhadhun’, ‘Badhaai Ho’ which would earlier be considered as art or off-beat cinema, but they all did really well commercially. ‘Andhadhun’ was the lowest budget film of the lot, but did so well. Even ‘Badhaai Ho’ and ‘Stree’ were made on shoe-string budgets, but these two atleast had some expectation. I give that extra credit to ‘Andhadhu’ because nobody has any expectations from it, and it did phenomenal. On the other hand, we had hardcore commercial cinema like ‘Baaghi 2’, ‘Satyamev Jayate’ and now ‘Simmba’. We had a mixed bag. We also had ‘Stree’ doing 100 crores. It was not great for the Khans but that’s okay. I think, even in 2019, we will continue making good cinema and only good cinema will work. Nothing else will work apart from that.

Tarun Tandon, Distributor

I think it’s been a surprising year for all of us. Small films have performed extremely well – be it ‘Badhaai ho’ or ‘Sonu Ke Titu…’ or ‘Badhaai Ho’. Small films have turned out to be money spinners. Then other films like ‘Baaghi 2’, and ‘Simmba’ doing well. The only regret is that the big guns didn’t fire this year, otherwise it would have been a fantabulous year. But there were a lot of expectations from all the three actors to perform. And the expectations are not just limited to the trade and industry but a lot of people go to watch their films. The footfalls for their films is the highest. Even if these films have done 100 crore, but the opening and footfalls which these actors get, others don’t – so 300 or 350 crores becomes achievable if these films work. The other films apart from ‘Sanju’ ‘Baaghi 2’ and ‘Padmavat’, have not taken a big initial. Because they were good films, they did good business. If only, these films would have done well, the year would have looked fantabulous year for the trade. I think we just missed that! Luckily, small films have done well and taken care of these big disasters. Hoping we recover that in 2019. The year looks promising. Again, you need small films to do well, plus these big films need to perform as well. To begin with, ‘URI’ looks promising, the trailers are great. ‘Manikarnika’ looks huge. So, even the first quarter looks promising.

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