The film industry in India has suffered numerous setbacks in the past few years but it is beginning to see hope and resurgence on the horizon. In the past one year, many films drew audiences back to theatres despite the many challenges that the pandemic imposed in terms of an occupancy limit in theatres, social distancing protocols and a lot more.
Here are some films that brought audiences back to theatres in 2021 and reminded them of the joys of big-screen entertainment.
Spider-Man: No Way Home
This one smashed records even before its release and delivered the biggest ever opening day for Sony Pictures Entertainment India and enjoyed the second biggest ever opening in the history of Hollywood releases in India. For ‘Spiderman: No Way Home’, The Multiplex Association of India saw the second busiest advance ticket sales ever in the entire history of cinema exhibition! The film, distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment India, had created a massive buzz thanks to its unusual premise of major villains in the Spider-Man multiverse emerging once again to challenge our hero. It has now officially become the biggest film of 2021 in India, with an opening weekend of Rs 138.55 Cr GBOC! Globally, the film has broken post-pandemic records grossing $587 million in the first weekend! Marking the 'highest opening weekend' for the company, the film raced past the half a billion-dollar mark in just five days and is dominating box office charts around the world. The friendly super-hero has yet again won the hearts of Indian fans and with shows still going house-full in several parts of the country. The Jon Watts directorial, boasts a scintillating starcast headlined by Tom Holland alongside Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jacob Batalon, Jon Favreau, Marisa Tomei, J. B. Smoove, Benedict Wong, Jamie Foxx, Alfred Molina, Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church, and Rhys Ifans.
Before the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Sooryavanshi was the biggest film of the year. Stakes were at an all-time high for the film industry with director Rohit Shetty's 'Sooryavanshi' releasing in theatres during Diwali. The film has paid off and how! The Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif-starrer crossed the Rs 100 crore mark in just 5 days as a part of its India business. the film was just a few crores away from making it to the Rs 200 cr club at the Indian box office. While Katrina Kaif is the leading lady, Ranveer Singh has an extended cameo in the film along with Ajay Devgn. 'Sooryavanshi' is Shetty's ambitious addition to his cop universe. The film had suffered multiple setbacks in the past 18 months owing to the theatre shutdown and civil restrictions. But, it has managed to rake in impressive numbers, restoring people's belief in the medium of cinemas.
Antim: The Final Truth
This remake of Marathi film 'Mulshi Pattern' was directed by Mahesh Manjrekar and produced by Salman Khan Films. Distributed by Zee Studios, the Salman Khan starrer also featured Aayush Sharma and Mahima Makwana and despite partial occupancy woes in many regions, it has been doing steady business in India and overseas territories. The question of whether in the post-pandemic world, stars will continue to hold sway over audiences has been answered by this film which despite not exactly being in the blockbuster league has seen loyal fans queuing up to see Salman in an extended cameo.
This film is a heartfelt tribute to the heroes of the 1983 World Cup win helmed by skipper Kapil Dev and his exceptional team of stalwart players. Director Kabir Khan meticulously recreates the passion and the power that the team demonstrated to win the championship of a lifetime against great odds. The film shows that the impossible can become possible only when a nation comes together as one. With Ranveer Singh leading a stellar cast, the film is a joy ride and also a deeply emotional experience for anyone who loves cricket and the stories of underdogs whose self-belief cannot be defeated.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
This 2021 release from the Marvel multiverse brought back the iconic Venom, in a sequel to Venom (2018). Distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment India here, the Andy Serkis directorial was released in Hindi, English and multiple regional languages and brought new and old fans back to theatres to catch the impossibly charismatic Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock /Venom alongside Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris, Reid Scott, Stephen Graham, and Woody Harrelson. The film, which depicted Venom’s conflict with serial killer Cletus Kasady (Harrelson) and the host of Carnage, also accrued great box-office numbers.
Tamil film 'Master' came at a time when the industry was still struggling to deal with the aftershocks of multiple lockdowns. The Lokesh Kanagaraj directorial was produced by Xavier Britto, and starred Vijay and Vijay Sethupathi with Malavika Mohanan, Shanthanu Bhagyaraj, Andrea Jeremiah, Arjun Das and Gouri G. Kishan. This eventually became the first Indian film to the top global box office at the time of release and went on to gross around ₹230–300 crore. With its success, it inspired other filmmakers to not let pandemic blues stymie their creativity and wait for an opportune time to release their films because as the film proved, there is always an audience for good content.
Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui
The steady box-office performance of this Abhishek Kapoor directorial and T-Series and Guy In The Sky Pictures co-production has demonstrated that even films with middling budgets and an unconventional storyline can sell tickets and win fans over. The quirky film headlined by the ever dependable Ayushmann Khurrana and Vaani Kapoor in an unusual role as a transwoman explores a love story outside the normative gender identities and entertains even as it sensitises the audiences about issues such as transphobia.