S. S. Rajamouli
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Bollywood: First half year owned by Baahubali!


Mumbai, June 23 -- It's that time of the year again when Bollywood goes through its ledger, as the first half of 2017 comes to a close. 
While many Bollywood films such as Jolly LLB 2, Badrinath Ki Dulhania (BKD), Kaabil, Hindi Medium and Phillauri hit the bullseye at the box office, the first half was owned by the blockbuster epic drama, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion.
"The first half has been good for the industry with Baahubali 2 topping the charts," says trade analyst Taran Adarsh, adding that the biggest takeaway from the period is that films with "strong Indian ethos" were relatable to audiences in a big way, and therefore, they set the box-office registers ringing.
"The biggest learning (in the first six months) has come from those films, which were seeped in Indian beliefs. So, if it started with Dangal last year in December, the same continued this year with BKD and Baahubali 2: The Conclusion. It goes on to show that regardless of what we love and imitate vis-a-vis Hollywood films, pure Hindustani cinema will always resonate with Indian audiences," says Adarsh.
As per experts, the power of content, too, shone bright in the first half that has been "incredible". For exhibitor-distributor Akshaye Rathi, "moneywise, the industry has been in the pink of health". "But, the biggest takeaway has been the fact that only content works, regardless of the star system or a film being a mega-project. For instance, a Hindi Medium and Baahubali 2 became dark horses despite the fact that they didn't have huge names," he says.
At the same time, trade expert Amod Mehra feels that Baahubali 2 "came as a huge saviour in the first half of the year". "Its business was worth 10 hit Hindi films, so the theatre owners and distributors made money. But otherwise, Hindi films didn't perform very well. Our losses (in the first six months) have been 30-40% more than our profits," he says.
Now, as Tubelight hits the silver screen, experts feel a lot of hopes are pinned on the Salman Khan-starrer. "We are all hoping that Tubelight spreads light in our lives, which continues to shine throughout the second half of 2017," says Mehra, adding that since the second half is "loaded with many potential blockbusters", the year is likely to end on a "big high".
From Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, Jab Harry Met Sejal, Golmaal Again, Padmavati and Tiger Zinda Hai to many others, a number of big-ticket films are set to release in the second half of 2017. 
Says Rathi, "Traditionally, the second half of a year has always been fantastic for Bollywood. So, we are hoping that this time too, films [that are lined up] take over in a big way and continue to follow the success rate set in the first half."