2018 has been one of the most bewildering years in Hindi cinema history. A year when a small but wonderful film like ‘Badhai Ho’ made bigger bucks than massive piece of trash like ‘Thugs of Hindostan’, the ‘thugs’ of which were clearly on a mission to loot our money (I conquered these ‘thugs’ as I didn’t watch their movie). Big budget commercial entertainers have always made tons of money irrespective of their quality. Just take the example of a pile of trash like ‘Happy New Year’ or a mind numbing exercise in foolishness called ‘Kick’ which made much more money than what I hope to earn in my 7 lifetimes. These films raised certain questions in my mind. Why would our audiences pay so much money and travel to cinema halls to watch something which doesn’t offer them anything remotely interesting or logical? Why would a sensible person waste his/her hard earned money on a senseless movie? Well, this year we, as a collective cinema-going audience, have whole-heartedly rejected such star vehicles which offer nothing beyond glamour and cool locations. ‘Race 3’, a film which had honestly lesser logical sequences than a B-Grade American video action film, also flopped after having a great opening weekend when the ‘Bhai’ fans thronged the theatres to catch their idol’s newest presentation of his mannerisms. One film which should have tanked miserably but made loads of money was the depressing ‘Baaghi 2’, the most nonsensical Tiger Shroff film, taking into consideration his past films which were equally bad.
There are two more big spectacles waiting for us this year in the form of ‘Zero’ and ‘Simmba’. Though ‘Zero‘ looks very interesting as it subverts the romantic genre by including very unlikely characters, ‘Simmba’ doesn’t show much promise beyond being the same regular masala flick which Rohit Shetty has mastered with the ‘Singham’ franchise. But what does look promising in the coming 2019 is the release of some really interesting films that I look forward to. Abhishek Chaubey’s ‘Sonchiriya’, Zoya Akhtar’s ‘Gully Boy’, and whatever Sriram Raghavan comes up next after the tremendous ‘Andhadhun’ which is not just the best film of 2018, but also one of the best thrillers Hindi cinema has ever seen.
We also have the usual big ticket films like ‘Bharath’ which do little to invoke any sort of excitement other than the fact that it is being directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, who has never made a bad commercial film. Even ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ was quite a lot of fun and I personally had a blast watching it. Let’s hope for an equally rewarding 2019 where we get to witness interesting ideas, executed in an entertaining and thought provoking manner.