Just two months left for the year to finally close and 2017 really baffled us with its varying Bollywood films and the unexpected response they got both critically and commercially. From war-dramas to appealing romances, the year did saw many highly experimental features from capable directors, out to give the audiences a piece of cake they had never tasted before. While we are still left with a few major releases this year including the highly anticipated Aamir Khan starrer “Secret Superstar”, the historical drama “Padmavati” to name a few expected to make an impression this year;we examine the major releases of the year and its significance as a whole.
The month of January has been deemed as ‘infamous’ by many contemporary critics who have noted it for being the ‘dump month’ due to the critically panned films released during at this point. January of this year was no less different for Bollywood, however with minor exceptions. The year started with Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s “Haraamkhor” – an average box-office success which received extremely positive reviews for its performances but its disjointed screenplay was a recurring complain. January then presented Shraddha Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapoor’s romantic comedy “OK Jaanu”. The duo who had won many hearts with their chemistry in “Aashiqui 2”, failed to rekindle the same warmth with their recent feature. Similarly Sunil Grover’s humor did little to help the crime-comedy “Coffee With D”. Both the films were declared flops and weren’t a hit with the critics either.
Nevertheless January had two big anticipated releases which clashed on the same day, King Khan’s “Raees”, and Hrithik Roshan’s revenge drama “Kaabil”. While they were declared hits at the box-office, they really didn’t meet what was expected of them, sensing their glamorous star cast. February brought some energy into the industry kicking with “Jolly LLB 2” – a satirical comedy on Indian judiciary. A much hidden gem also appeared the same month “The Ghazi Attack” – while an okay success, the film was much appreciated by the audiences enjoying a 7.7 rating on IMDb. Another disappointment followed with Vishal Bhardawaj’s love triangle themed “Rangoon” which proved to be a disaster despite its extravagant production and a talented cast. March suggested an another glimmering hope with Rajkumar Rao’s “Trapped”, a highly unconventional claustrophobic tale of getting trapped in one’s own apartment, a social commentary “Anaarkali of Aarah” and fantasy comedy “Phillauri”. April burst the entire box-office with “Bahubaali 2: The Conclusion” scaring off every major release that month taking in a whooping one thousand crore. Major releases that month “Half-Girlfriend”, “Begum Jaan” and “Meri Pyaari Bindu” were all shooed away by the action-fantasy.
The summers as usual had their share of hits and miss- “Hindi Medium”, “A Death In The Gunj”, “Lipstick Under My Burkha” many coming out as surprising low budget hits while some big budgets like “Jagga Jassoos” and “Tubelight” couldn’t reach the heights as attained by their contemporaries despite having potential.
August and September proved to be an another peculiar month. Imtiaz Ali’s “Jab Harry Met Sejal” starring two versatile actors Shahrukh Khan and Anushka Sharma proved to be a disastrous failure with many calling it clichéd and formulaic. It wasn’t a golden year for SRK, was it? On the contrary the romantic comedy “Toilet: Ek Prem Katha” proved to be an instant success with audiences praising its humor, performances and its ultimate message. Two low budget releases “Bareilly Ki Barfi” and “Shubh Mangal Savdhan” dealing both issue of marriage, won many hearts, defying their expectations. Rajkumar Rao certainly slayed it here, not to mention his Oscar Contender “Newton” this month.
Perhaps, 2017 was more of an answer of the audiences to the Bollywood. After the 2010’s it is quite evident that the audiences are tired of the typical rom-coms or corny action flicks and really want something genuine, something that they can connect to. The portrayal of middle class in films enjoyed considerable success this year owing to its familiarity. Films like “Bareilly Ki Barfi”, “Shubh Mangal Savdhan” and the highly successful “Toilet: Ek Prem Katha” are evidences of this. Indie filmmaking quirks in certain films like “Trapped” also recevied significant praise. With time, the audiences have definitely changed their taste buds thanks to education and the profound impact Hollywood and foreign cinema have had on Bollywood. Its obviously the right time for Bollywood to strike and prove itself to the world about its beauty and with so much encouragement from its the audiences, it can definitely can- and this year explicitly proves it!