Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012: Bollywood's biggest winners

In 2012 audiences flocked in droves to watch throwback, star power, masala cinema. They also rewarded story driven, non-star vehicles and showed a continued propensity for diversity. Composers continued to mix desi and videshi music to create film songs. Vocal casting went mainstream. Stars were born, some reappeared, a few fell out of the sky. A number of producers made money, others lost their shirts. Bollywood is raking in more cash then they had before.
Let's take a look at Bollywood's biggest gainers. These are hastis and trends that incubated or significantly enhanced their reputations in 2012.

Ek Tha Tiger, Dabangg 2
Total Box Office:  Rs 452 crores
Make a movie with Salman Khan: as close as anyone can come to a sure fire hit formula in films. Salman rode his fans' undying affection, overcame middling movies and ignited Bollywood.
Housefull 2, Rowdy Rathore, Joker, Oh My God!, Khiladi 786
Total Box Office:  Rs 556 crores
Sure Joker tanked badly, but Akshay defied long running concerns of overexposure and had a brilliant year. Rowdy Rathore was the biggest hit of Akshay's career and Oh My God! - made for about Rs. 20 crores - became the year's biggest sleeper hit against all odds.
Bol Bachchan, Tezz, Son of Sardar
Total Box Office:  Rs 245 crores
Bollywood's new box office muscle continued to enhance his reputation. Notwithstanding the disaster that was Tezz, Devgn scored with a comedy and a potboiler, the second of which was pitted against Yash Raj's swansong Jab Tak Hai Jaan.
Ek Tha Tiger, Jab Tak Hai Jaan
Total Box Office:  Rs 372 crores
Bollywood's reigning box office queen continued to shed her arm-candy status and went 2 for 2 in 2012. She did it with two of film's biggest stars - box office rivals and personal enemies, serving notice of serious diplomatic chops.
Agneepath, Teri Meri Kahani, Barfi!
Total Box Office:  Rs 327 crores
Riding her vibrant personality and international exposure via a newly launched singing career, Priyanka stuck to her strategy of choosing strong roles in quality productions and not shying away from taking creative risks. She was rewarded with two blockbusters and hinted at box office muscle.
Joker, Rowdy Rathore, Son of Sardar, Dabangg 2
Total Box Office:  Rs 578 crores
Sure she was candy floss in most movies she acted in, but there is no denying her name was associated with a bunch of hits (and her images with the inside panels of numerous autorickshas). Sonakshi had a monstrous year the likes of which haven't been enjoyed at the box office in a single year before - by a male or female.
Total Box Office: Rs 70 crores
2011's The Dirty Picture showed that Vidya could spin box office gold all by herself - a rare feat for a female lead. In 2012, she proved that was no fluke by powering Kahani to sleeper success. More importantly, Vidya managed to charm both critics and audiences. She finished her year getting married, an event that signals a slide for Indian actresses. But that might be just another trend for Vidya to buck.
Vicky Donor
Total Box Office: Rs 47 crores
Ayushmann had only one success this year and a modest one at that, but his turn as a scruffy, strutting, yet vulnerable sperm donor left everyone raving. Plus he composed and sang that really cool song.
Music Director: Ek Main Aur Ek Tu, Ishaqzaade, English Vinglish, Aiyyaa, Luv Shuv Te Chicken Kurana
This was the year Amit went from genius on the margin to mainstream heavyweight. He made inroads into important banners (like Dharma, YRF) and pumped out hits without sacrificing any of his deliriously offbeat composing chops. He created songs filled with catchy beats and gulley humor (Dreamum Wakkepum, Motorwada) and made it all sound arty. Amit Trivedi was this year's foot tapping LOL.
English Vinglish, Talaash, Kahani
Total Box Office: Rs. 255 crores
Previously restricted to being Production Designers, Costume Designers or  Assistant Directors (often brilliant ones), women flexed their commercial movie making muscle with resounding successes in 2012.  Gauri Shinde sheparded Sridevi's comeback into a box office win with the amiable, R-E-S-P-E-C-T flick English Vinglish. Reema Kagti, writing with her friend and collaborator Zoya Akhtar, took a twisty mystery - Talaash - to blockbuster status. You could argue that Sridevi's comeback and the star of Talaash, Aamir Khan, both had built in audiences, but these are advantages male filmmakers also work with. In turn, Sridevi and Vidya Balan headlined two movies in front of the camera that were major successes. Now if only that trailblazer Ekta Kapoor had had a banner year like in 2011. Afsos, instead she decided to fund nutty fare like Kya Kool Hai Hum.
Agneepath, Rowdy Rathore, Dabangg 2, Khiladi 786, Son of Sardar
Total Box Office: Rs. 819 crores
Call them what you want: formula films, masala flicks, potboilers - in 2012 they carried a brutal violent edge, marginalized and exploited women and larger than life heroes. They made tons of money. Style was in, stories were out. They reignited lusty item songs of the kind that make women wake up at night in a cold sweat (of the bad kind). And the success of these movies tells you that men are now firmly the target audience when it comes to ticket sales.
Housefull 2, Raaz 3, Jannat 2, 1920 - Evil Returns, Khiladi 786, Dabangg 2
Total Box Office: Rs. 676 crores
Producers have constantly tried to cash in on in-built brand recognition to give their movies that extra publicity. In the past few years, we've seen the eye-roll-worthy trend of naming movies after songs. In 2012 producers decided to recycle success by reusing the name of their previous hits. A lot of these movies really weren't sequels in the traditional sense - they were more about branding (same director! same star! same music! same laughs / thrills / skullcracking!). The continued success of this strategy has encouraged Bollywood to line up a bunch of these in 2013:  Race 2, Krrsh 3, Tanu Weds Manu 2, Once Upon a Time in Mumbai 2, Dhoom 3. Who knows we might even see Grandson of Sardar.

Note: When calculating combined box office, I used the following numbers on box office collections. Unfortunately, this isn't a precise process. It takes a bit of digging around and figuring out who is inflating numbers and who isn't. Anyone who wants to dispute these numbers most likely has good justification and should let me know:
1920 - Evil Returns: Rs. 21 crores
Agneepath: Rs. 193 crores
Barfi!: Rs. 106 crores
Bol Bachchan: Rs. 100 crores
Dabangg 2: Rs. 250 crores (estimated)
Ek Tha Tiger: Rs. 252 crores
English Vinglish: Rs. 85 crores
Housefull 2: Rs. 180 crores
Jab Tak Hai Jaan: Rs. 120 crores
Jannat 2: Rs. 80 crores
Joker: Rs. 22 crores
Kahani: Rs. 70 crores
Khiladi 786: Rs. 70 crores
Oh My God!: Rs. 83 crores
Raaz 3: Rs. 75 crores
Rowdy Rathore: Rs. 201 crores
Son of Sardar: Rs. 105 crores
Talaash: Rs. 100 crores
Teri Meri Kahani: Rs. 28 crores
Tezz: Rs. 40 crores
Vicky Donor: Rs. 47 crores


Trade said...

Good analysis. It is good how you've given total box office. But you should mention the flops also. Joker was a flop and that goes against Akshay and Sonakshi

Mind Rush said...

Wow, these numbers look good! I want a post with pie charts: Who took what percentage of the profits from the major hit films of 2012?