Kannada films have fared poorly in the first half of the year 2018, with almost all films failing at box office. Only four films managed to get the ‘hit’ tag, which is a very poor strike rate compared to last year. The year began with Manoranjan Ravichandran’s “Brihaspathi”, which was a disaster at the box office. On the evidence of the first few months of the year, it will end the half year on the same note says Vedanth.
Only four films from Kannada attained a ‘clear hit’ tag. By ‘clear hit’, we mean producers, distributors and exhibitors earning a profit. “Humble Politician Nograj”, which was made by popular stand-up comedians was a big draw at the box office. The film was backed by popular actor Rakshit Shetty and it climbed into the profit zone within a week of its release. The film also became the first commercial Kannada film to be purchased by Amazon Prime. Shivarajkumar, who ended 2017 on a high with “Mufti”, continued the same form with “Tagaru”. The film directed by Duniya Suri was a commercial entertainer told in a nonlinear screenplay format, which impressed one and all. The film is the biggest hit of 2018 until date and also completed 100 days at 15 centres. The surprise hit of the year was “Gultoo”. The film which was projected as a cybercrime thriller surprised everyone when it was released. It got excellent reviews from critics and this helped the film to get much needed attention. The audience loved the film and gave it a thumbs up, resulting in the film running more than 50 days in many centres. The last hit of the first half is “Raambo 2”. The sequel to the 2012 sleeper hit, “Raambo”, the film made news due to its catchy tune. Sharan, who was badly in need of a hit came back to form with this film.
Disappointments of the first half of 2018
Even though there were not many big star films in the first half, there were many expectations from some films. Duniya Vijay had two releases in a gap of two months. Unfortunately, both the films were big flops. His film “Kanaka” released in January and was a flop due to a poor story. After almost 60 days, his next “Johnny Johnny Yes Papa” was released. The film had kindled many expectations as it was a sequel of “Johnny Mera Naam”, which was a hit. However, the film surprised trade pundits when it failed to even garner a decent opening. It ended up being a disaster. “Rajaratha”, the film which brought back the Bhandary brothers of “RangiTaranga” fame ended up being a colossal flop. The film was released amid a lot of expectations from Kannada film fans. It failed to fulfil audience expectation and ended up being a flop. These three films can be called as the big disappointments of the first half of 2018. Films like “Buckassura” and “Mercury” were also expected to do well, but even they failed.
Poor script selection
Even though out of box scripts are ones that are making their producers a pot of money across the Indian subcontinent, Kannada filmmakers are still going strong with the old formula films which is impacting their performance at the box office. Today’s audience has become very smart and they spend their hard earned money only if they believe (from reviews and word of mouth) that the film is worth their time. With many options for entertainment, audiences are outrightly rejecting even average content films. Therefore directors should be very careful before making a film.
No big stars film
The first half of 2018 has not seen the release of a big star film. No films of Yash, Darshan, Sudeep, Rakshit Shetty, Dhruva Sarja, Upendra or Ganesh have released in first half of the year. Shivarajkumar is the only star whose film was released this year. As most of the big stars have not had any releases, the fan part of the audiences have kept away from theatres. The outlook for the second half is brighter as the films of these big stars are expected to be out.
Lack of promotion
Kannada films are hardly being promoted. The same old promotional technique is being used - a press meet is called and full paper ads are given in newspapers. Promotional techniques for Kannada films need to be adapted to the digital world. Of course, nothing can beat word of mouth as that is the ultimate promotional tool. But more unique ideas should be used to promote films. Social media platforms should be used to attract youngsters. “Raambo 2” can be called a perfect example for a well-promoted film. The film was promoted well across all channels as well as social media. Even though the film did not get excellent reviews, the film performed excellently and is running houseful even many days after its release.
Big stars to dominate second half 2018
Big star films are expected to dominate this year’s second half. Yash starrer “KGF” is undoubtedly the biggest film of 2018. It is expected to be out in the latter part of 2018. The film which is being made with a more than 50 crore budget, has been delayed by almost a year due to extensive work. The team is very confident and the film is releasing in 5 languages. Kiccha Sudeep and Shivarajkumar starrer “The Villain” is also one of the most expected films in the second half of the year. Directed by Jogi Prem, the film is scheduled to release in August and also has popular Bollywood heroine Amy Jackson in lead. Darshan’s much-hyped 50th film “Kurukshetra” is expected to be out soon. The mythological film has many big stars like Ambareesh and Ravichandran in pivotal roles. Rakshit Shetty’s “Avane Srimannarayana” is expected to release on December 2018. Dhruva Sarja’s “Pogaru” is also expected to release by this year end. Along with this, many promising small budget films like “Katheyondu Shuruvagide” and “Arjun Gowda” and “Asathoma Sadhgamaya” are slated to release in second half of 2018.
Hits: Humble Politician Nograj, Tagaru, Gultoo, Raambo 2.
Misses: Kanaka, Rajaratha, Johnny Mera Naam, Buckassura.