Ronnie Lahiri, Producer
The year has been fantastic for us, with Pink gaining so much applause all over the world. As for the industry as a whole, I believe the year has been good, where audiences have accepted the content. Movie-goers today don’t look at whether a film features newcomers or not; they look for good content. Why, even big stars have started looking for films that are rich in content, like Airlift, Rustom, Sultan and Dear Zindagi. The year has seen many content-oriented films, especially women-oriented films like Neerja and Pink, which was much appreciated.
I believe that 2016 is a watershed year for the film industry. It will serve as a benchmark as to what kind of motion pictures need to be made that audiences will go forth and spend money on a theatre ticket on. The 5/6 films that were commercially successful all blurred the lines between what earlier was defined as ‘commercial’ and ‘arty’.
Now a good film made in a sensible budget with a two hour run time has a very good chance to do well at the BO.
I also hope that as a result we will now do away with the duality of the ‘popular choice and critics choice’ absurdity that rules our award nights.
With 2016 coming to an end, once again it has been proved that it is content that is working and good scripts that audiences look forward to. Airlift, Neerja, Kapoor & Sons, Nil Battey Sannata, Sultan, Pink, and MS Dhoni – The Untold Story, which worked, all are heavy on content, and when I say ‘worked’, they even got good returns at the box office. And when Hindi movies fail, the audience opts for movies in other languages like The Jungle Book and Sairat.
I hope we deliver more content-based films which do great business at the box office. It would be a shame to release 200 films a year and have only 10 hit films. Now, everyone is waiting for Dangal, which looks stunning and will surely bring in big money as it looks great, content-wise, and features Aamir Khan.
The year 2016 has been a very fulfilling one for Fox Star Studios. With multiple hits across Bollywood and Hollywood, we are extremely delighted that the content we have backed has been loved by audiences. This not only validates our approach but provides useful pointers to help us create entertaining and differentiated content.
Both Neerja, a story of a braveheart, and M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story, the biopic of the celebrated and most-loved cricketer, M S Dhoni, have created history at the box office. From our association with Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions, we offered audiences differentiated, fresh content – the Diwali blockbuster Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and the much-loved hit Kapoor & Sons.
From our Hollywood slate, we released Deadpool, Kung Fu Panda 3, X Men: Apocalypse, Independence Day: Resurgence and Ice Age 5, all of which delivered good to outstanding box-office returns as viewers connected well with the scale and entertainment quotient.
As far as the industry is concerned, this year truly belongs to realistic and differentiated cinema. Akshay Kumar had an outstanding year and has told some really good stories through his movies Airlift and Rustom. Salman Khan made history again with Sultan, a film with a strong pan-India emotional connect. Karan (Johar) entered the prestigious 100-crore club with ADHM, in addition, to the Indian diaspora supporting and making the film break records internationally. And Ranbir Kapoor, one of our most talented actors, is back with a bang as audiences loved his performance in the celebrated Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. 2016 has been a good year for good content!
This year, the industry has seen films made on a variety of subjects, from sports to biopics to family entertainers. Films like M.S. Dhoni…, Sultan, Rustom, Airlift, Neerja, Kapoor & Sons, Pink, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Dear Zindagi have received audiences’ love, critics’ appreciation and also box-office success. It is an encouraging trend for creative artists, technicians and producers, to tread off the beaten path and be bolder in creating fresh content because the audience is accepting such diversity.
Our first film this year was Kapoor & Sons (Since 1921). The audience loved the film’s fresh, realistic and contemporary approach, which was a refreshing departure from the ‘traditional’ treatment of family entertainers. The music was an instant hit and the movie was critically acclaimed and a box-office success as well.
Baar Baar Dekho was our next release and the song Kaala chashma from the film grossed a whopping 140 million views (and counting) on YouTube alone. That is an unparalleled record. The album has been a chartbuster and the film delved into totally new and uncharted creative genres in Hindi cinema, thereby pushing the creative envelope, which was a bold move.
Then the Diwali bonanza, Karan Johar’s much-awaited Ae Dil Hai Mushkil made Diwali extra special this year, for us. The constant love, accolades and box-office success the movie has been garnering is immensely gratifying. Everything from a super-hit album, to fine performances, to the spell-binding cinematic experience that Karan Johar takes you through has been heartily lauded.
Our latest release Dear Zindagi, with its unique casting and experimental style, has broken the ‘hero- heroine’ mould of a Bollywood film. The film’s strong emotional core and relatable characters successfully created a strong connect with the audience, transcending age and gender barriers. We are very happy that the film is performing so well at the box office in addition to being widely acclaimed.
2016 has been a phenomenal year and next year is only going to get bigger and better. We have a fantastic line-up of movies and the audience will be treated to a variety of genres with movies like Ok Jaanu, Badrinath Ki Dulhania, Bahubali 2 and a few more exciting projects that we are thrilled to be a part of. Looking forward to an exciting and magical year at the movies. I wish everyone a glorious 2017.