The second half of 2016 started on a high note, with Salman Khan’s Id release Sultan breaking box-office records and also getting positive reviews – a rare occurrence when it comes to this star’s films. The other major event of the last quarter was all the fire and noise caused by the battle of Udta Punjab v/s the CBFC. The censors gave the film about Punjab problem multiple cuts. The producers –Anurag Kashyap and Ekta Kapoor—approached the High Court and the film made it to its release date in a blaze of publicity.
The interesting films in the mainstream space were undoubtedly Fan and Ki & Ka, both had stars that fitted the parts, but not in a clichéd sense. Ki & Ka, in particular tried to be different at least in the characterisation of its male lead (Arjun Kapoor) a man who chooses to be a stay-at-home spouse as his high-flying corporate wife (Kareena Kapoor) chases career goals. In Fan, Shah Rukh Khan paid tribute to his stardom by playing his own ‘jabra’ fan.
Baaghi was a formula actioner, that did well, and made Tiger Shroff a popular action hero. Then there was Housefull 3, the success of which just wipes out all the efforts by talented filmmakers to tell stories that matter. Sarbjit and Azhar tried that, with biopics, with varying degrees of success.
In the non-mainstream space, films like Nil Battey Sannata, Phobia and Waiting won plaudits from the discerning audience—all three films with strong female protagonists. Dhanak with its charming kiddie protagonists traversing the desert, was heartwarming too; and at the other end of the age spectrum, Amitabh Bachchan played a tenacious old man in Te3n trying to hunt for his granddaughter’s killer. A couple of films like Dear Dad and Traffic were appreciated too
The film that left a bitter aftertaste, was Anurag Kashyap’s Raman Raghav 2.0, a gory and ugly look at a serial killer played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui and the equally psycho cop (Vicky Kaushal) on his case. Ram Gopal Verma’s Veerappan did nothing to ease his comeback to Bollywood.
All in all, a satisfactory period, with a whole lot of biggies on the way—Madaari, Dishoom, Mohenjo Daro, Rustom, The Flying Jatt, Akira, Shivaay, MS Dhoni : the Untold Biopic, Mirzya, Rock On 2 and Dangal to name just a few.