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The Fourth Quarter

Friday, December 22, 2017
By Deepa Gahlot

The year comes to an end with Salman Khan-Katrina Kaif-starrer 'Tiger Zinda Hai', the box-office fate of which is a no brainer.

The last quarter had a mix of films – a blockbuster 'Golmaal Returns', as well as Indie gems like 'Tu Hi Mera Sunday' and 'Ribbon', a silly comedy like 'Fukrey Returns', a twisty thriller like 'Ittefaq', and solemn art films like 'Rukh', 'Kadvi Hawa', 'Ajji' and the much delayed 'Monsoon Shootout'.

The problems of ordinary women were brought out in quite a few films. 'Secret Superstar' was about a mother (Meher Vij) who wants to fulfill her daughter’s (Zaira Wasim) dream of becoming a singer; 'Ribbon' was about a working woman’s (Kalki Koechlin) troubles when she decides to have a baby; 'Qarib Qarib Singlle' was about a successful career womanand young widow (Parvathy), looking for another chance at romance.

Vidya Balan brought out the soul of a middle-class homemaker, who becomes a late show radio jockey and sparks off domestic disputes in 'Tumhari Sulu'. In 'Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana', a woman (Kriti Kharbanda) chooses a career over marriage. 'Jia Aur Jia', about two women (Kalki Koechlin and Richa Chadda) on a trip together, wrecked its potential witha bad script and maudlin end. Chadda reprised her role and played a gangster Bholi Punjaban's role in 'Fukrey 2', with far less effectiveness than the original. In 'Ajji', a grandmother (Sushama Despande) avenges her granddaughter’s rape by a powerful politician’s son.

Films like 'Aksar 2', 'Julie 2' and 'Tera Intezaar' tried to coast along on the kind of female skin show and steaminess that no longer works at the box-office unless it tells an interesting story.

To match with strong women, the men also took on offbeat roles – Saif Ali Khan in 'Chef' trying to reconnect with his son and estranged wife; Irrfan Khan in 'Qarib Qarib Singlle' as a quirky and caring foil for Parvathy’s stodginess; Manav Kaul as the supportive husband gobsmacked by his wife success in 'Tumhari Sulu'; Sumeet Vyas as a modern urban dad in 'Ribbon'.

Period films set against rural backdrops – 'Panchlait' and 'Firangi' – failedto register any impact, despite the latter starring TV idol KapilSharma.

The last quarter of 2017 was marked by the ugly controversy surrounding 'Padmavati', with threats of violence and bans over offended sentiments that resulted in the film missing its December release date. The film industry has to find a way to stand united and fight these attacks from random fringe groups.

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