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Box office 2021: 'Sooryavanshi', 'Satyameva Jayate 2', 'Antim', 'Tadap', 'Bunty Aur Babli 2' may save the year yet

Right now, what's important is getting audiences back to the cinema halls. As long as that starts happening at a steady pace, things should fall in place for 2022 as well.

October 31, 2021 / 05:16 PM IST
Actor Ahan Shetty in 'Tadap', which is slated to release in theatres on December 3, 2021. (Image: screen grab)

Actor Ahan Shetty in 'Tadap', which is slated to release in theatres on December 3, 2021. (Image: screen grab)

The wheels are again in motion in Bollywood. To be sure, there was an attempt to get the Bollywood juggernaut moving earlier this year when BellBottom released around Independence Day weekend in August. However, several factors had put the brakes on then.

For one, Maharashtra theatres had remained resolutely shut. Other states were only allowing 50% occupancy in cinema halls. Add to that the fact that no late night shows were allowed and the general public was still hesitant to step out after the Covid pandemic, and the end result wasn’t on the expected lines.

Seventy-five days on, things have changed for the better. Maharashtra has allowed theatres to play films, the majority of states are allowing 100% occupancy, night curfews are no longer being enforced, and there is once again excitement among the ‘aam junta’ to watch films in theatres. Moreover, the festive season is here, and that has further incentivised people to venture out.

Read more: Maharashtra reopening: Exhibitors see mixed response from audience, F&B restriction a concern

Pockets of success

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One good thing that has happened in the last couple of months is that certain films have received an encouraging response in some pockets.

So Punjab and Delhi seem ready to return to the big screen, judging by the success of films like Chal Mera Putt 2, Qismat 2, Puaada and Honsla Rakh here - each of these films has managed to do business in the range of Rs15-20 crore.

In South India, five-six films have made good profits and emerged as hits - though the Tamil and Telugu film industries haven't added any new members to the 100 Crore Club lately.

Meanwhile, Hollywood too has done its bit to bring people back to theatres. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, No Time To Die, Fast And Furious 9 and Venom: Let There Be Carnage, all did decent business in the Rs20-30 crore range. People are now flocking to theatres, especially in the metros, to watch Dune, based on Frank Herbert's legendary sci-fi book.

Test drive over

The test drive is done. Theatres have themselves been advertising how they are follow government-prescribed Covid SoPs (and learning in the process). To carry the analogy forward, it is now time for Bollywood to bring out the race cars and the monster trucks.

The films that are releasing over the next few weeks are expected to cater to both the multiplex crowd as well as single screen audiences. The latter in particular are quite important for the survival of the film industry, and have stayed loyal to Bollywood for decades now.

No wonder then that all eyes are on Sooryavanshi, Satyameva Jayate 2, Antim, Tadap and Bunty aur Babli 2, which are arriving in quick succession. Sooryavanshi, starring Akshay Kumar and directed by Rohit Shetty, has waited patiently for 18 months and was never tempted by OTT offers. It would now be invading theatres across the country with practically all screens at its disposals. There is no parallel release around Diwali and nothing in the week ahead as well, hence setting an open field for the action film.

Satyameva Jayate 2, with actor John Abraham in a triple role, is also releasing soon. The Milap Zaveri-directed franchise, backed by Nikkhil Advani and his Emmay Entertainment, had set records at single screens with the first instalment and the same is expected from the second one as well.

Antim - The Final Truth will arrive in theatres a day after Satyameva Jayate 2. Salman Khan, it seems, will have a much bigger role in this action drama than one had previously expected. Antim, directed by Mahesh Manjrekar, has Ayush Sharma playing the anti-hero.

As for Ahan Shetty, the actor has waited a whole year to see his first film being released in theatres. Backed by Sajid Nadiadwala and his production company Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment, Tadap seems to be great a launch pad for Shetty - actor Suniel Shetty's son. Filmmaker Milan Luthria too seems to have put together the kind of masala entertainment that should make audiences root for Ahan and his love story with Tara Sutaria.

Meanwhile, Yash Raj Films is bringing back nostalgia while adding fresh blood to it in the form of Bunty Aur Babli 2. Though one does wonder why Abhishek Bachchan isn’t back, with Saif Ali Khan in the film along with Rani Mukherji, rest assured there would be trademark quirks from the actor that should keep audience entertained.

As for Siddhant Chaturvedi and Sharvari Wagh, they could well be throwing a peasant surprise as the young Bunty and Babli into the fold who are being chased by Pankaj Tripathi no less. This is one film that should primarily cater to the multiplex audience, though single screens too may end up embracing this fun entertainer.

With so much of entertainment already in the offing and promos of '83, Pushpa, Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui and Jersey all set to be unveiled as well, the aforementioned big releases should pretty much set the tone for the box office. Right now, it’s not as much about films entering the 100 Crore or 200 Crore Club. It’s about getting audiences back to theatres, and as long as that starts happening at a steady pace, everything should fall in place for 2022 as well.

May there be happier times at the box office henceforth.



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Joginder Tuteja is a trade expert and film critic, and loves to talk and write about anything that is related to films. Views are personal.
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