2016 was not great for Indian cinema.
For the most part, audiences were unimpressed with the over 200 Hindi movies produced last year. And with piracy already eating into revenues, demonetisation dealt a body blow, forcing citizens to rein in spending.
Despite ending on a strong note with the Aamir Khan-led wrestling biopic Dangal, which has raked in around Rs271 crore since its release on Dec. 23, the year was marked by only seven other super-hits that earned over Rs100 crore at the box office. These include Salman Khan-starrer Sultan, another wrestling drama, and Karan Johar’s love story Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.
India makes the most movies in the world but box office earnings pale in comparison to film industries in the US and Canada, for instance. So all eyes are now on the line-up for 2017.
From biopics to Bollywood remakes, here are some of the year’s most-anticipated Hindi movies:
SS Rajamouli’s Baahubali: The Beginning, shot in both Telugu and Tamil, shattered records in 2015, snapping up well over Rs100 crore within three days of opening. Even before the release of its first part, which portrays two brothers at war over an ancient kingdom, the epic saga set a record as India’s most expensive film. The sequel will be out on April 14.
Saif Ali Khan stars in this Bollywood remake of Jon Favreau’s Chef (2014). It tells the story of a professional chef who quits his restaurant job and, along with his friend and young son, opens a food truck, serving sandwiches across the country. The Indian version releases on July 14.
In 2017, Akshay Kumar is expected to star in a biopic of Arunachalam Muruganantham, otherwise known as India’s “Menstruation Man.” Muruganantham, a resident of Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, famously invented a machine that makes affordable sanitary pads, promoting menstrual hygiene in rural areas.
Kumar is also starring in a comic take on prime minister Narendra Modi’s clean India campaign, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Releasing on June 2, the movie is said to depict the love story between the owner of a Pay & Use toilet (played by Kumar) and a slum-dwelling girl.
India’s beloved cricket icon, Sachin Tendulkar, finally gets the biopic treatment in 2017, and he himself plays the starring role. The movie, which comes out on April 14 with music composed by Academy Award winner AR Rehman, traces Tendulkar’s rise from a young boy with big dreams to one of India’s most iconic sports stars.