This year’s releases sprung a surprise on viewers and the film industry too. And why not? Some of the big budgeted and star-studded films failed at the box-office — Tubelight, Jab Harry Met Sejal and Jagga Jasoos — whereas small films that were high on content, were critically acclaimed and also commercially viable. Some of the films were directed by first-time and new directors and didn’t star the traditional A-listers.
This only reiterates the fact that the audience has started appreciating content and themes over big production and names. As the year comes to an end, ST looks at the few game changers of 2017.
Toilet — Ek Prem Katha
Director: Shree Narayan Singh
Starring: Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar
If there’s one actor who has been consistently offering one hit after another, it has to be Akshay Kumar. The actor keeps surprising us with his choice of scripts; Toilet…was no different. The story highlighted the issue of open defecation in India. Akshay plays a village man, whose wife demands that a toilet be constructed in their house. The film earned Rs 134.22 crore during its theatrical run.
Director: Saket Choudhary
Starring: Irrfan Khan and Saba Qamar
Hindi Medium became the sleeper hit of 2017. Not only a commercial success, but also critically acclaimed, this Irrfan Khan starrer was loved for its storyline and performances. The film also raised an important issue on how we judge people based on their ability to speak English and the Indian education system. The movie made Rs 69.59 crore, while it was made with a budget of Rs 22 crore.
Shubh Mangal Savdhan
Director: RS Prasanna
Starring: Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar
The remake of Prasanna’s Tamil film Kalyana Samayal Saadham which released in 2013, Shubh Mangal... tackled the subject of erectile dysfunction, but in a comic manner. The supporting cast and dialogues added to the entire screenplay. It is for the first time that such a sensitive subject was talked about in Bollywood. Shubh… made a gross total of Rs 43.11 crore in its theatrical run.
Director: Suresh Triveni
Starring: Vidya Balan, Manav Kaul and Neha Dhupia
Every time Vidya Balan comes on screen, she creates magic and Tumhari Sulu was no different. The film has Vidya playing a RJ on a late night radio show and the challenges she has to face. Another sleeper hit of the year, Tumhari Sulu has earned more than Rs 30 crore.
Director: Amit Masurkar
Starring: Rajkummar Rao and others
Newton was one of the best scripts of 2017 and it also became India’s official entry to Oscars. The black comedy, about a rookie government clerk sent on the election duty to a Naxal-controlled town in the conflict-ridden jungles of Chhattisgarh, made a gross total of Rs 22.08 crore in its theatrical run.
BareilLy Ki Barfi
Director: Ashwini Iyer Tiwari
Starring: Rajkummar Rao, Ayushmann Khurrana and Kriti Sanon
Based in a town of Uttar Pradesh, Bareilly Ki Barfi won the audience through its simple narrative, relatable characters and power-packed performance by Rajkummar Rao, Seema Pahwa and Pankaj Tripathi. The story revolved around Bitti Mishra, the modern small-town girl and her two suitors. The movie made Rs 34.55 crore at the box office, while it was made on a budget of Rs 20 crore.
Lipstick Under My Burkha
Director: Alankrita Shrivastava
Starring: Ratna Pathak Shah, Konkana Sen Sharma, Plabita Borthakur and Aahana Kumra
Presented by Ekta Kapoor, Lipstick… was not only the most controversial film of 2017 owing to its long battle with Censor Board, but also one of the most loved ones. Four ordinary women, inflicted by silly societal norms, have to steal, lie, cheat and hide in order to lead the lives that they rightfully deserve.
The movie was the surprise hit of 2017 and it picked up mainly because of word-of-mouth publicity. Made on a budget of Rs 5 crore, it earned close to Rs 20 crore at the box-office.