The very first movie that released in 2019 established a trend that was here to stay – movies invoking patriotic and nationalistic sentiments. The box office collections of Uri: The Surgical Strike got further bolstered by the surgical strikes that took place soon after the release of the film. Uri was followed by other patriotic films such as Manikarnika, Kesari and Bharat, all of which went on to do well at the box office.
Filmmakers continued to dole out more biopics this year, with some hitting the bullseye and others dying a slow death. Manikarnika doubled up as a biopic and a patriotic film, nailing both trends. The Accidental Prime Minister, Thackeray, Super 30 and Saand Ki Aankh were the other major biopics of the year.
Looking back, we have drawn up the following trends that seem to have ruled the roost in Bollywood this year.
Box office wise, 2019 started on a fantastic note and set the pace for patriotic movies. Uri became immensely popular, shattering box office records, owing majorly to its nationalistic attributes and sentiments. It was soon followed by Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi, the Kangana Ranaut starrer historical biopic that was peddled on the idea of patriotism and Rani Laxmi Bai's appeal as a freedom fighter.
Akshay Kumar, the current torchbearer of issue-based films in Bollywood, served two helpings of patriotism – Kesari and Mission Mangal. Much like his other films, these two also managed to lure a sizable audience to the theatres.
John Abraham is beginning to make a career out of films on nationalistic issues. Batla House was one of them, where he played the police officer who played a crucial role in the controversial 2008 encounter.
With Bharat, Salman Khan kept his date with fans on Eid. The film charted its protagonist's journey from the Indo-Pak Partition to modern day, documenting India's 72 years of freedom.
Bollywood's love affair with biopics was further affirmed this year with no less than 6 such films hitting theatres. Besides Manikarnika, January itself saw two other political biopics - Thackeray and The Accidental Prime Minister. While Nawazuddin Siddiqui played the former Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, Anupam Kher got into the garb of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for their respective films.
Hrithik took on an unusual role and invited a lot of criticism as he transformed into mathematics genius Anand Kumar, the Patna based teacher famous for making IIT coaching available to underprivileged kids. A woman-centric biopic, Saand Ki Aankh starring Bhumi Pednekar and Taapsee Pannu, was based on the lives of octogenarian sharpshooters Chandro and Prakashi Tomar.
Surprise super blockbusters
It has been an amazing year for Shahid Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan as their films Kabir Singh and War decimated records at the ticket window. While one was a remake of a Telugu love story which was already a big hit, the other pitted Tiger Shroff and his apparent idol Hrithik against each other in the ultimate action and hot bods face-off. While Kabir Singh brought in unprecedented success for Shahid, War surpassed the expected box office numbers to become the biggest hit of the year. Their collections also presented a question to film critics who didn't rate them beyond average.
With films like Housefull 4, Student of the Year 2 and Commando 3, it seems the trend of sequels is going to continue. While Housefull 4 was a box office success, SOTY2 and Commando 3 failed to create any magic. As the year draws to a close, more sequels such as Mardaani 2 and Dabangg 3 are ready to hit cinema halls.
The Ayushmann Khurrana genre
This year has reinforced the trend that was established last year. It began several years ago, with the release of Vicky Donor, some might argue. After last year's Badhaai Ho and AndhaDhun, Ayushmann Khurrana has continued to deliver in the genre that is now casually being named after him. He first rocked the boat with Article 15, thanks to a solid word of mouth. Then came Dream Girl, where he played the role of a man who impersonates a woman's voice as part of his job at a 'friendship' call centre. In Bala, his character suffered from premature balding and dealt with the stigma associated with it. Needless to say, the majority of the viewers agreed with him, every time.
Films that went off the beaten track this year include Zoya Akhtar's Gully Boy, which not only became massively popular, but also became India's official entry at the Oscars. The film brought Mumbai’s underground rap scene into mainstream with Ranveer Singh playing a Dharavi rapper.
The theme of homosexuality was explored in Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga. The film, although not a commercial success, started talks about representation of the LGBTQ in Hindi cinema.
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