Box-office verdict, 2016: Superstars still call the shots


Sultan starring Salman Khan has minted money this year

We are just some days away from welcoming the New Year. Looking at the Hindi film industry, it’s been a mixed year. A number of big releases starring the big names, but overall, the trade pundits do not have reasons enough to be elated. Of course, Aamir Khan’s Dangal will release this Friday, December 23, and it will be interesting to note how it fares, but being a year-end release, we are leaving it out of this analysis.

Yes, there have been success stories like Sultan, Airlift, Rustom, Neerja, Baaghi, Pink, Dear Zindagi among others. At the same time, there have been huge disappointments in Fan, Mohenjo Daro, Shivaay, Kahaani 2 that boasted stars, yet, the end result has been dismal.

Talking of success stories, Salman Khan rules the roost with Sultan, with a domestic net worth Rs. 300.45 crore. Akshay Kumar played safe yet again with Rustom (Rs. 127.49 crore) and Airlift (Rs. 129 crore). If we look at the budget of both these films, then with an overall spending of around Rs. 40 crore, both the films earn the tag of super-hit.

The small-budget Sonam Kapoor-starrer Neerja netted Rs. 75.61 crore in India. Tiger Shroff gets his second hit with Baaghi (Rs. 76 crore). Shah Rukh Khan may have disappointed his fans with Fan (Rs. 85 crore), but towards the end of the year, his experimental Dear Zindagi has fared well with Rs. 67 crore so far, that makes it a hit keeping in mind the margin of profit. Amitabh Bachchan even in his seventies comes up with a winner in Pink that earned Rs. 68 crore.

If we look at the average hits or films that have more or less recovered their production costs, then, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, MS Dhoni: An Untold Story, Shivaay, Happy Bhag Jayegi, Udta Punjab, Housefull 3, Sarbjit, Azhar, Ki and Ka, Kapoor and Sons, Dishoom, Teraa Surroor, Jai Gangajal, Sanam Re and Wazir come to our minds. These films have made profits, yet haven’t performed to their potential. Aditya Chopra’s Befikre with around Rs. 56 crore as of now, is still struggling.

And then there have been disasters like Hrithik Roshan’s Mohenjo Daro that clashed with Akshay’s Rustom, but failed to make an impact. Hrithik’s film just earned around Rs. 58 crore at the box-office, while Akki romped home with a super-hit. Vidya Balan disappointed with Kahaani 2 that was hyped to repeat the success of its prequel. So did, Tiger with A Flying Jatt. Sunny Deol’s comeback film Ghayal Once Again bit the dust too. Fitoor and Baar Baar Dekho despite the media support, failed to make an impact at the box-office. Talk of abysmal shows, the list just goes on: Akira, Raaz Reboot, Kabali, Mastizaade, Sanam Teri Kasam, Aligarh, Rocky Handsome,Veerappan, Junooniyat, Freaky Ali, Mirzya, Rock On 2, and others sank without a trace.

A lot will depend on how Dangal fares, if the industry is looking for a blockbuster after Sultan. The box-office results this year also prove that content matters, yet stardom matters more. Salman, SRK, Akshay and Aamir (whose Dangal has already earned rave reviews) are the ones to look to. The younger lot, (read) Ranbir Kapoor, Ranveer Singh, Varun Dhawan, Shahid Kapur, Siddharth Malhotra, Arjun Kapoor, Tiger Shroff and even John Abraham still have to prove their mettle when it comes to big bucks.

Among the actresses, Sonam has shown she has in her to carry a film on her own shoulders (Neerja). Anushka stood her ground in Sultan and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Priyanka Chopra seems more focused on her international career. Aishwarya Rai got critical acclaims for Sarbjit and her steamy scenes with Ranbir in Ae Di…got her attention. Deepika Padukone hasn’t had a release this year. Katrina Kaif had a disastrous year with two duds in Baar Baar Dekho and Fitoor. Sonakshi Sinha would prefer forgetting 2016 courtesy Force 2 and Akira. Alia Bhatt had two success stories with Kapoor and Sons and Dear Zindagi.

Indeed, it has not been a hugely successful year for the Hindi film industry, but hopefully, 2017 with films like Raees, Kaabil, Jolly LL.B 2, Rangoon, Sarkar 3, Noor, Jagga Jasoos, Tubelight, Crack, Simran and possibly Tiger Zinda Hai and others will end up on a better note.

(Domestic box-office figures courtesy:


About digantaguha

To introduce myself, I am a journalist, blogger and have also taught Political and Sports Journalism in the Future Media School in Kolkata. I am currently working with Sports News Crunch as a Consulting Editor and as a Guest Faculty at the Techno India University. Over all, I have around 15 years of experience as a journalist having worked with esteemed publications like Hindustan Times, Business Standard, The Pioneer and others. You can contact me at Diganta Guha
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