Trade analyst Taran Adarsh had put out a tweet that the first quarter of 2018 has been really good for Bollywood. He credits the box office successes of Padmaavat, Raid, Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety, Pad Man, Hichki for that. He wrote, "Unlike previous years, the first quarter of 2018 has brought hope, cheer and optimism... #Padmaavat, #PadMan, #SonuKeTituKiSweety, #Raid and #Hichki have brought our smiles back... #Baaghi2 should also open big... Well begun indeed!" While some of the 'successes' he mentions in his tweet are questionable, like Pad Man, Hichki, it is still better that the first quarter of 2017.
But did the increase in box office successes also lend itself the improved quality of cinema? That's a questionable argument indeed. Not all the good movies released in the first quarter of 2018 have been hits. So if the box office has not honoured them, let's do that in this special quarterly feature. That said, not all the movies mentioned below are masterpieces and there is definitely a lot of room for improvement in the months to come for Bollywood. The below movies are arranged based on the release dates and not as per merit!
Mukkabaaz may not be Anurag Kashyap's best work, but it is certainly among his better ones. The gritty love story, set against the backdrop of boxing and caste politics, is enhanced by Kashyap's fine (and sometimes over-indulgent) direction and terrific performances from Vineet Singh, Vineet Kumar Singh, Zoya Hussain, Ravi Kishan and Jimmy Sheirgill.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali's controversial magnum opus is the year's biggest hit, and most of the credit should go to Karni Sena's unintentional PR campaign. Padmaavat is not a bad movie per se; it's only we have seen SLB do better (Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Khamoshi, Guzaarish). But we have to give it the director's eye for opulence and Ranveer Singh's terrific performance. Padmaavat is one of the better movies of this period, but it could have been much much more.
Pad Man should have been a really fantastic movie, if it was not let by a very convenient and contrived storytelling. But the R Balki movie, starring Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor and Radhika Apte, has its heart in right place and starts a conversation on menstruation that needs to be built upon.
Love Per Square Foot
Have you checked out Netflix's Love Per Square Foot? If not, you have missed out the sweetest movie of the year. Merging a romcom with real issues that affect middle-class youngsters in the city, Love Per Square Foot benefits from some witty writing, good direction and very likable performances from the cast, led by Vicky Kaushal and Angira Dhar. Anand Tiwari, who was impressive as an actor in Aisha and Go Goa Gone, continues to impress us as a director too.
It feels bad when a really good movie fails to make much of a mark at the box office. I am not a horror movie fan, but I can say for sure that Anushka Sharma's latest production is a game changer when it comes to Bollywood horror. Filled with some deeply disturbing imagery and fantastic performances from Anushka, Parambrata and Rajat Kapoor, Pari has in it to scare the living daylights out of you.
There are some movies that you watch with no expectations and they end up being such a pleasant surprise that you will leave smiling as the end-credits roll. 3 Storeys, produced by Excel Entertainment, is one such movie. Telling three different tales with some surprising twists with a derelict chawl being a common link, 3 Storeys deserve more love than the total ignorance given by the box office.
Rani Mukerji's comeback movie may not break new grounds when it comes to story-telling. But it is a sweet feel-good movie with some really good performances from a bunch of talented teens and an excellent Ms Mukerji. After all, who doesn't love the tale of an underdog if done right?
Agree with our list above? Share which of these has been your fave movie in the comments section below.