Mumbai, Dec 31: The Hindi cinema witnessed one of its best years and certainly the best after the global pandemic in 2023 as films like ‘Pathaan’, ‘Jawan’, ‘Gadar 2’ and ‘Animal’ went on to become blockbusters.
A medium budget film like ‘Zara Hatke Zara Bachke’ emerged as a sleeper hit, and the Akshay Kumar-starrer ‘OMG 2’ put up an impressive performance at the box-office.
While 2023 saw many releases in Hindi cinema, 2024 seems to be struggling with a dry pipeline of Hindi films. The coming year only has 30-35 releases in Hindi cinema, which is quite unusual for an industry which is known for churning out films like a clockwork.
Film trade analyst Sumit Kadel told IANS that it’s the result of confusion and uncertainty on the makers’ part as the pandemic has greatly disrupted the demand and supply curve.
A majority of the big hits of 2023 were conceived before the pandemic when there was a sense of assurance within the fraternity of what content would work in cinemas as per the screen share.
“All big films like ‘Pathaan’, ‘Jawan’, ‘Gadar 2’ and ‘Animal’ started their work in different capacities before the pandemic. Back then, there was confidence in the makers given the market trends of what content would work the best in cinemas. The pandemic put every bet off the table and the makers were confused and trying to make sense of what the audience at large would prefer to watch in theatres,” Sumit told IANS.
He said that the number of Hindi films in exhibition will only rise in 2025 as the market gets on track and makers become clear of the choices of cinegoers.
“They were thinking about what to make and what kind of content would work in cinemas because simultaneously the affinity for streaming content was also on the rise during the pandemic,” he said.
He said that the coming year has only a few big films like ‘Singham Again, ‘Fighter’, ‘Bade Miyan Chote Miyan’ and ‘Welcome To The Jungle’.
“All these films are a result of the post-pandemic era. As the market recovers, the audience will see bigger films only in 2025 and not in 2024,” Sumit said.
Karan Taurani of Elara Capital said that it’s not just Hindi cinema but the issue of lesser films is common across languages and genres.
“The issue of a dry pipeline is there across languages and genres. If you look at Hindi films, only large budget films are working. Given this trend, the number of medium budget films has gone down for the next year,” Karan Taurani said.
He said that the issue of less medium budget films doesn’t give blanket immunity to big budget films either.
“The large budget films too have become lesser because OTT platforms are not buying these films for digital rights. In Hollywood too there’s a disruption in schedules because of the SAG-AFTRA strikes. In 2024, Hollywood may see 40 per cent lesser releases in cinemas,” he said.