The world was a different place when the very first issue of Box Office India was published on September 19, 2009.
Dr Manmohan Singh was Prime Minister of India while Narendra Modi was one among 30 Chief Ministers. Barack Obama hadn’t completed even 8 months as President of the United States and the name ‘Kim Jong-un’ would have only elicited a puzzled, ‘Who?’. The Sensex index had ended at around 16740 the previous day while a US dollar was worth `48. A litre of petrol in Mumbai cost less than `50 and the highest individual score in One Day International cricket belonged to Zimbabwean Charles Coventry, who had scored 194 not out just a month ago in August 2009.
A lot has changed since then. A Prime Minister often criticised for communicating too little has given way to one seen as a master at communication. Classiness has been replaced by crassness at the White House while the supreme leader of North Korea is now one of the world’s most recognisable and feared figures. The Sensex has almost doubled but you have to dig deeper into your wallet to fill your fuel tank or purchase foreign exchange, and six individual double centuries have been scored in 50-over cricket.
No less dramatic has been the extent of change in the very domain that this publication was created to report on, and named after – the Indian box office. Just one Hindi film, Ghajini, had collected in excess of `100 crore at the domestic box office when the first edition of this magazine was published. Last month’s release, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha was the 53rd film to go past that milestone!
Not only has the `100-crore mark become more accessible, it has also given way to even more substantial benchmarks during the course of the last 8 years. 3 Idiots breached the `200-crore barrier and PK became the first film to go past `300 crore. This year, we witnessed just the Hindi dubbed version of Baahubali: The Conclusion collect in excess of `500 crore at the domestic box office. And it wasn’t just at home that our films were setting new records – Dangal amassed an astounding `1200 crore at the Chinese box office!
‘Change’ is at the heart of this 8th Anniversary Special Issue. Change, as well as a look at the world outside the confines of the Hindi film trade.
First up, we are honoured to host an eclectic and eminent group of stalwarts from a cross-section of India’s most important non-Hindi industries. And these gentlemen are not just stalwarts, they are bona fide superstars! Mr Kamal Haasan, Mr Sachin Pilgaonkar, Mr Prosenjit Chatterjee, Mr Ravi Kishan, Mr Gippy Grewal, Mr Jr NTR and Mr Ram Charan. Moreover, with Hollywood films now being a substantial and growing stakeholder at the Indian box office, we get an expert perspective on the evolution of Hollywood in India through Ms Amrita Pandey from Disney, which was the top grossing studio worldwide in 2016, and is on track to repeat the feat this year too.
Continuing with the theme of ‘change’, a cross-section of industry folk share their lists of significant changes they have seen in the film industry, especially in their respective professional domains and during the course of their individual careers.
By common consensus, the consumption of content on digital platforms is the most revolutionary change underway in the arena of media and entertainment. What does this mean for the film industry? Is this a threat or an opportunity? Some of our fraternity’s most distinguished voices – Mr Shekhar Kapur, Mr Sanjeev Kumar Bijli, Mr Bhushan Kumar, Mr Siddharth Roy Kapur, Mr Vivek Krishnani, Dr Shrikant Bhasi, Mr Tinku Singh and Mr Vikram Bhatt – share their perspectives and predictions.
That’s not all we have for you in this special issue! Like each year, we have a comprehensive data section that serves as a ready reckoner for all – and any – questions you may have about how film collections fared in the period since our last anniversary issue.
A huge ‘Thank You!’ to the many worthies from the Indian film fraternities who have contributed to this anniversary edition. The primary purpose behind the launch of this publication was to serve as the film industry’s own platform for the exchange of views and news, and we are delighted and honoured to have received the industry’s whole-hearted support in realising that goal.
Our final, and most important, debt of gratitude is to you, dear reader. It is your patronage that has kept us going, right from the day Volume 1, Issue 1 hit the stands…and it continues to inspire us today, as we bring you this 8th Anniversary special issue.