A Better Tomorrow?

The year 2017 was a disappointing one in many ways. Apart from the expected hits that turned out to be misses - not least of which were Salman Khan's Tubelight and Shah Rukh Khan's Jab Harry Met Sejal - there were issues peculiar to 2017 that hurt the trade.

Just as we were finally getting over the impact demonetisation had on the Hindi film industry, there was another shocker in the form of GST. The new tax pushed up the prices of movie tickets while also putting the squeeze on family budgets.

The only two massive hits were Telugu mega-movie Baahubali: The Conclusion and Salman Khan's Tiger Zinda Hai, bringing in the really big bucks for exhibitors and distributors, who were otherwise reeling from what could be considered a 'drought year'.

There was one good trend that brought some cheer - small-budget, game-changers that continued to wow the audience with their hatke content. While movies like these don't bring in much revenue, they underscore the only truth in an industry otherwise beset by much uncertainty - that there is absolutely no substitute for great content.

At the end of this roller-coaster year, we spoke to executives from top cinema chains in the country and asked them to name the films they thought pulled people to the theatres. We also asked them how 2017 fared financially, and their forecast for 2018.

Rahul Puri, MD, Mukta Arts
Baahubali: The Conclusion did record-breaking business at our properties and we recorded most of our cinemas' best months in their history when the film released. Sadly, the year didn't sustain anywhere near those levels after this film, though there were a few other big hits. 2018 has some very good films lined up - a strong January may bring positivity after a good December. However, I am cautious in my expectations.

- Rahul Puri is the MD of Mukta Arts Ltd.