This year witnessed a see-saw of fortunes. Salman Khan continued to be the box-office Midas with Yash Raj Films’ Sultan shattering records. Shah Rukh Khan’s films Fan and Dear Zindagi received rave reviews. While big numbers eluded the first, the latter surely gathered more volume. Akshay Kumar enjoyed one of his career’s best runs with three ‘100 crore hits. There were also massive disappointments like Hrithik Roshan’s Mohenjo Daro and Katrina Kaif’s Fitoor. But the festival flurry salvaged the industry. The Diwali and Eid releases (and the impending Christmas bonanzas) brought in the big bucks. But in the wake of the fact that Hollywood’s The Jungle Book managed `183 crore and the Marathi blockbuster Sairat had a `75 crore box-office tally, the pressure on B-town’s big-budget movies just got bigger. A low-down of the cash register of 2016.
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Big hits-Year 2016’s first certified hit, Akshay Kumar’s Airlift was both a critically acclaimed and commercially celebrated movie. Despite being panned by critics, Akshay Kumar’s franchise film Housefull 3 managed more than decent numbers. This ensemble comedy also featuring Abhishek Bachchan, Riteish Deshmukh and Boman Irani managed a final haul of `105 crore. Rustom, his biographical movie inspired by the KM Nanavati case raked in `125 crore. It was the Khiladi’s third consecutive `100-crore hit this year. Sushant Singh Rajput’s and director Neeraj Pandey’s chronicle on Indian cricket great Mahendra Singh Dhoni was a certified hit. Mirzya’s damp box-office showing a week later, catapulted MS Dhoni: The Untold Story into the fast lane and it raced past the `100 crore mark.
Flops-The first damp squib of the year was Abhishek Kapoor’s romantic saga Fitoor with Katrina Kaif and Aditya Roy Kapur. The movie just earned `42 crore with a budget of `70 crore. The same happened with Ashutosh Gowariker’s magnum opus Mohenjo Daro with Hrithik Roshan. It earned just `58 crore in India with a reported budget in excess of `100 crore. Baar Baar Dekho with Sidharth Malhotra and Katrina Kaif garnered buzz with its hit song Kala chashma but that failed to translate into box-office receipts. Anil Kapoor’s son Harshvardhan Kapoor’s debut in a Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra film grabbed attention but not footfalls. The demonetisation drive stole all the thunder from Farhan Akhtar’s Rock On 2. The release coincided with a financial turwmoil countrywide.
Small is big-With almost half the year gone by, B-town had just one `100-crore plus hit – Akshay Kumar’s Airlift. It was critically acclaimed and commercially celebrated. The Raja Krishna Menon directorial enjoyed a 10-week run at the box-office. This gritty tale, inspired by the heroics of Indian citizens in Kuwait back in the ’90s, made a whopping `127 crore. The next big film was Shah Rukh Khan’s Fan, which managed an underwhelming `84 crore given its `85-crore budget. The movie did gather `187 crore gross worldwide and additional income from satellite and music rights. The mid-budget movies like Kapoor & Sons, Neerja and Baaghi were well-received. Neither film boasted of a superstar presence, but all three featured unswerving talent. So the Sidharth Malhotra-Alia Bhatt-Fawad Khan family drama Kapoor & Sons, made an impressive `74 crore while Sonam Kapoor’s emotional hit Neerja raked in `74 crore and managed a `120 crore worldwide tally. Tiger Shroff’s and Shraddha Kapoor’s action vehicle Baaghi managed a super `76 crore bounty.