2017 At The Movies, So Far

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More than half the year has passed and it’s been an underwhelming year at the movies. From an estimated 53 movies slated to release this year, only a handful have been successful. In my opinion, there are three barometers for a film’s success – the financial recovery of the film, how the audience receives it and how the critics review it. From the many movies released this year, about 10 or so have been successful economically, meaning they made enough sales to recover cost of production, and despite financial success, few have been memorable.

Memorable movies that live beyond their numbers and become famous by word-of-mouth publicity are so hard to come by. The surprise success of Hindi Medium this year was notable, but it was only one of the few movies of the year so far, that was as entertaining as it was meaningful.

Over the years, the Hindi film industry has given us movies that are equally brilliant and entertaining, movies that even after so many years are still relevant and worth watching. The breath of fresh air that  was Dil Chahta Hai  proved that Hindi movies can also be cool and refreshing, and it was such a good departure from thetypical melodramatic stories of that time.

For a society like ours that is so influenced by cinema, movies have trickled their way into our lives. Iconic lines from Kabhie Khushie Kabhie Ghum and Three Idiots are still in used today in college canteens and offices across the country. I don’t know if we have had a movie that has been able to connect with the audience in the same way in recent times.

Indian movies have also helped boost an interest in other disciplines, good movies havemade us interested in sports outside of cricket, Dangal, Chake De India, and Mary Kom put the focus on Indian women athletes in a way that no other media could effectively.

When so much money is pumped into producing movies and crores are spent on locations, sets, and actors to create 120 minutes on film, why is it that so few of these movies are doing well financially and even fewer do well with the audience? Even though the year opened with Bhahubali 2, which was a commercially successful giant, the same enthusiasm and economics hasn’t applied to any other movie this year. Even with films like Lipstick Under My Burkha and Death In The Gunj that were promising and important, the economic success didn’t peak as much as the movies deserved.

I don’t know if it’s a period of creative exhaustion or perhaps its the audience that has gotten tired of movies, but that seems unlikely considering there aren’t many other channels of entertainment available to the average person. Hopefully before the year comes to a close we will be presented a movie that has a crackling script, sharp dialogues and the quality it takes for a film to become a part of our pop culture. There are only so many Sholay Gifs and memes featuring Pooh that whatsapp chats can contain. Surely we have enough talent and producer funding to create new movies that stay in our hearts, even after they have been taken off the screens.

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