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Box office 2017: Hindi Medium, Badrinath Ki Dulhania have highest profit percentage so far

The third and fourth positions are currently held by Sachin: A Billion Dreams and Jolly LLB 2.

Keyur Seta

The first half of 2017 saw the release of a wide range of films tackling different subjects. Unfortunately, a minuscule number emerged winners at the box office. Big stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar and Hrithik Roshan came up with their films. But none of them could even get to a collection of Rs150 crore nett.

Indeed, who would have predicted that the film with the highest profit percentage so far this year would be an Irrfan Khan-starrer? The profit percentage is calculated by dividing a film’s return on investment with its cost of production multiplied by 100. Going by this formula, Saket Chaudhary’s Hindi Medium has emerged as the winner of the first half of the year. This is followed by Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt’s Badrinath Ki Dulhania. The film proved the box-office draw of the two young stars again. 

The fourth posiiton is taken by Akshay Kumar’s Jolly LLB 2. The actor has continued his good form this year too. But what comes as a surprise is that the documentary Sachin: A Billion Dreams has come in third place. This has obviously to do with the massive popularity legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar enjoys even today, several years after his retirement.

The thing to note here is that the Hindi version of Baahubali 2: The Conclusion earned a massive Rs509 crore in India. But as it isn’t originally a Hindi movie, it doesn’t find a mention in the table above. 

We got talking to film exhibitor and distributor Akshaye Rathi for his take on the year so far. He believes the year has been encouraging. “There has been a very good mix of mid-scale, small-scale and large-scale successes. Smaller films like Hindi Medium, made at a very low budget, also gave very good returns,” he said.

The one notable trend, according to him, is that star power has become irrelevant beyond a point. The latest example is Salman Khan’s Tubelight. “We are entering an era which is dominated by great content. Shah Rukh Khan had a Fan (2016), which didn’t do half the numbers of an Aashiqui 2, which had Aditya Roy Kapur. And Aashiqui 2 didn’t do one-fourth the business of Baahubali 2, which didn’t have known names [in markets outside the South]. So, instead of banking on stars your dependence is now on the writer or director. This is a great trend that has emerged in the first half of this year,” he said. 

One would expect the likes of Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan and Hrithik Roshan to deliver big numbers. Unfortunately, not a single film of these stars has crossed the Rs150-crore mark this year. “They have done more than Rs100 crore business, which is good. But I agree that in a country with a population of 1.2 billion people, Rs100 crore nett collection is nothing to celebrate,” said Rathi. 

He believes a solution needs to be found. “This is something that not just the actors, but also as a fraternity, whether the production, distribution or exhibition sector or the talent, need to collectively work on. Right now the way we are making films, there is no method to the madness. There is no study of the demographics and psychographics of the Indian market. I hope that the trend in 2017 paves the way for us to make the right kind of representation and for the government to see what the troubles of the fraternity are and help rectify those.” 

Rathi also believes that the number of theatres in India is an issue. “The only market you can compare with India in terms of population is China. An Indian film does about Rs300 crore plus in India [the reference being to Dangal]. The same film in China does over Rs1,000 crore. Why? Because India has about 8,500 active theatres. The biggest release in India has been Baahubali 2. Now, in China there are 38,000 theatres. So, it’s about having the infrastructure to reach out to the entire market.” 

A long list of keenly awaited films is set to be released in the second half of 2017. Rathi pins his hopes on them. “I hope it to be better than the first half. The advantage of the second half in India is that the number of festivals is high from August to December. And there are some interesting films lined up like Jab Harry Met Sejal, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, Judwaa 2, Padmavati, Tiger Zinda Hai, etc. So, we have a very promising second half,” he said.