With quite a few movies making good runs at the box office, 2017 turned out to be quite a profitable year for Bollywood. As usual, there was no fixed formula for success and the audiences heartily accepted quite a few different genres and quite a few different leading men.
Leading men…yes, the men comfortably led the field when it came to holding public interest and bringing in the moolah in 2017. In comparison, the leading ladies paled in significance barring a few exceptions. Let’s take a closer look at the hits and misses of the year.
Among the Khans, Salman Khan closed the year in grand style with a spy- action thriller Tiger Zinda Hai. Aamir Khan played a memorable side-role in Secret Superstar and Shahrukh Khan made some noise with a gangster flick- Raees.
Akshay Kumar continued his golden run with Jolly LLB 2 and Toilet- Ek Premkatha, movies with serious social subtext, a formula that he is cleverly employing in recent years. Hrithik Roshan, embroiled in a rather dirty public spat with Kangana Ranaut, had a decent outing in an action thriller- Kaabil.
Ajay Devgn and his wacky gang with Golmaal Again showed that the fun-franchise’s box-office pull is unabated. Varun Dhawan scored big with two franchise comedies- a slick rom-com Badrinath Ki Dulhania and a silly Judwaa 2. Another mindless comedy franchise to succeed was Fukrey Returns, which had no big star-cast to boast.
Irrfan Khan enjoyed a good year with two light-hearted fares- Hindi Medium, a message film about middle-class fixation about expensive English medium schools and Qarib Qarib Singlle, an enjoyable rom-com.
Ayushman Khurrana found success again through two small budget rom-coms - Bareilly Ki Barfi and Shubh Mangal Savdhan, milking the North Indian small town milieu. His BKB- co-star Rajkummar Rao was superb and his Newton, a sociopolitical satire, was official Indian entry for Oscars.
Coming to the ladies, only few names shone through. Zaira Waseem and Meher Vij ‘s Secret Superstar, Vidya Balan ‘s Tumhari Sulu were perhaps the only notable films centered round female leads. Alia Bhatt in Badrinath Ki Dulhania, Kriti Sannon in Bareilly Ki Barfi, Parvathy in Qarib Qarib Singlle and Katrina Kaif in Tiger Zinda Hai impressed. Bhumi Pednekar did well in Toilet-Ek Premkatha and Shubh Mangal Savdhan, and so did Saba Qamar in Hindi Medium.
SRK’s When Harry Met Sejal, Salman’s Tube Light, Amitabh Bachchan’s Sarkar 3, Ranbir Kapoor’s Jagga Jasoos, Ajay Devgn-Emraan Hashmi’s Baadshaho, Vidya Balan’s Begum Jaan, Kangana Ranaut’s Simran and Saif Ali Khan- Shahid Kapoor-Kangana’s Rangoon were some of the biggest disappointments, both critically as well as commercially.
The biggest hit of the year was Baahubali 2, a dubbed film from the South, which was simply an amazing SFX-driven fantasy that made Hindi audiences aware of names like Prabhas, Tamannah, Anushka Shetty and Rana Duggubati. This was a message to the most prolific film industry that it still has a lot of ground to cover!
Bollywood 2017: Top 5 male performances
1. Irrfan Khan in Hindi Medium
2. Rajkummar Rao in Bareilly Ki Barfi
3. Aamir Khan in Secret Superstar
4. Akshay Kumar in Toilet-Ek Premkatha
5. Varun Dhawan in Badrinath Ki Dulhania
Bollywood 2017: Top 5 female performances
1. Vidya Balan in Tumhari Sulu
2. Meher Vij in Secret Superstar
3. Zaira Waseem in Secret Superstar
4. Kriti Sannon in Bareilly Ki Barfi
5. Saba Qamar in Hindi Medium
Bollywood 2017: Top 5 directors
1. Rohit Shetty – Golmaal Again
2. Advait Chandan – Secret Superstar
3. Shree Narayan Singh – Toilet Ek Premkatha
4. Shashank Khaitan – Badrinath Ki Dulhania
5. Ashwini Iyer Tiwary- Bareilly Ki Barfi