2016: Bollywood to treat buffs with melange of genres

New Delhi, Jan 5 (IANS) “Wazir” and “Chauranga”; “Ghayal Once Again” and “Chalk n Duster”; “Airlift” and “Kyaa Kool Hain Hum 3” – Bollywood’s slate for the first month of 2016 itself tells the myriad shades of cinema which will entertain and engage audiences this year.

There’s a bouquet of commercial as well as content-oriented films in the first quarter of 2016, which trade pundits hope will not just rake in the moolah at the box office, but will give the year a “bright” and “big” start.

In fact, there’s hope that the movie exibition industry will mint bigger business this year as compared to 2015 as almost 20 big tickets movies, including those from Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan and two from Shah Rukh Khan, said Amit Sharma, managing director, Miraj Cinemas.

Right from megastar Amitabh Bachchan to Akshay Kumar, Shabana Azmi, Sunny Deol, Priyanka Chopra, Manoj Bajpayee, Ritesh Deshmukh, R. Madhavan, Sunny Leone, Sonam Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Katrina Kaif — these names will add their magic to the silver screen in the first quarter itself, with films of different genres.

“To start off, January is looking quite promising. In terms of first quarter, whatever releases we have in front of us, we definitely see variety in genres right from a niche film like ‘Chauranga’ to action thriller ‘Ghayal Once Again’ and adult comedy ‘Maastizade’. Than ‘Saala Khadoos’ is a sports drama film.

“Also, in February we have romantic films like ‘Sanam Re’ and ‘Sanam Teri Kasam’, biopic like ‘Neerja’ and a strong undercurrent film like ‘Bollywood Diaries’. Then in March there is ‘Jai Gangaajal’ and ‘Great Grand Masti’,” Girish Johar of Zee Studios told IANS.

Mumbai-based trade expert Rajesh Thadani believes there are various films “which look commercially viable” in this leap year.

“The first quarter slate looks good as compared to last year, but obviously we have to wait and watch what better comes out (through the year),” Thadani said; while Devang Sampat, business head – Strategy, Cinepolis, pointed out that as compared to three mainstream movies last January, 2016 has five of them.

The year 2015 proved to be lucky for Salman Khan as both “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” and “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo” did well at the box office. This year, he will be seen in “Sultan”, which will clash on Eid with “Raees”, starring Shah Rukh, who first has an April release of “Fan”.

Also, Aamir, who was missing from action in 2015, will return to the silver screen with “Dangal”.

Asked about number of films expected to cross Rs.100 crore mark, Thadani pointed out that as there is a big film releasing every Friday in the first quarter, most films “won’t have a long run in theatres to make big figures due to competition”.

“But films with strong content will be appreciated,” Thadani said.

Sampat added: “Good content is lined up throughout the year. Two weeks is a good time for a big release to prove its mettle. If the content is good, then it can run for further five to six weeks like ‘Baahubali: The Beginning’ and ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’.”

Another interesting factor in the 2016 lineup is the increase in number of films based on real-life incidents and biopics like “Airlift”, “Neerja”, “Aligarh”, “Azhar”, “Udta Punjab”, “M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story” and “Dangal”.

“All these films are quite different from each other. People talked about in these films have big stories and history behind them. If the films are properly mounted and well-made, people would definitely look forward to them,” Johar said.

So far, the year looks promising. But whether they set the cash registers ringing or touch a chord in the audiences’ heart, remains to be seen.

(Sandeep Sharma can be contacted at sandeep.s@ians.in)

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