Back in Summer 2017, Bollywood was jolted with back to back failures of high profile films like Tubelight, Jab Harry Met Sejal and Jagga Jasoos, to name a few. While this was the state of affairs for big films, the situation was even terrible countless other small to medium budget films, many of them boasting of popular/notable names as well, many of which were failing like ninepins at the Box Office. The situation was that of despair as Bollywood was going through one of its worst phases of not just 2017 but the current decade.

Things change for a better though with Toilet – Ek Prem Katha [August], Judwaa 2 [September] and Golmaal Again [October] infusing life back in the industry. These three films not just entered the 100 Crore Club but also acted as an eye opener of sorts that audiences were fine with content based films as well as out and out entertainers, and there was no bias whatsoever.

Box Office - Bollywood sees an unfortunate comeback of a terribly dull phase
Box Office – Bollywood Sees An Unfortunate Comeback Of A Terribly Dull Phase

Yes, these films boasted of saleable superstars [Akshay Kumar, Varun Dhawan, Ajay Devgn] as well which helped the cause. However, soon came Ayushmann Khurranna with a couple of good successes [Bareilly Ki Barfi, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan] while Rajkummar Rao [Newton] and Vidya Balan [Tumhari Sulu] too delivered decent successes, hence resuming audiences interest (and trust) in Hindi cinema.

Alas, successes like these, both big and small, have turned out to be really rare in the second half of the year as well as there are more flops and disasters than what one would have bargained for.

Just look at the state of affairs in the recent times. Chef [Saif Ali Khan], Haseena Parkar [Shraddha Kapoor], Daddy [Arjun Rampal], Bhoomi [Sanjay Dutt], Lucknow Central [Farhan Akhtar], Poster Boys [Sunny Deol], Simran [Kangana Ranaut], A Gentleman [Sidharth Malhotra], Firangi [Kapil Sharma] – These are the films which boast of known actors with good credentials behind them, and still there were no takers. As for films with erotica (or even the hint of it) totally died, case in point being Aksar 2, Julie 2 and Tera Intezaar.

What makes the situation further depressing is the fact that while Tiger Zinda Hai would still bring in audiences, that is two weeks away. In the midst of this the only silver-lining appears to be Fukrey Returns, though that too is a film which would rely mainly on word of mouth.

One can rue the fact that Padmavati could have made the situation better in theaters. However, the Sanjay Leela Bhansali directed film is just one entity (and there too one waits to see how the final product actually looks like). How does one explain though about rest of the films and their makers? Are audiences been totally ignored when it comes to creating entertaining content for them?

A lot for Bollywood to ponder as one can just hope that this terribly dull phase doesn’t seep into 2018 and it is the last that one has seen of it so far.

Joginder Tuteja tweets @tutejajoginder

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