There was a time when everybody’s jaw dropped if a Bollywood film made the Rs 100 crore club. Now, even Rs 200 crore is considered chump change for the Indian movie industry. Instead, Rs 300 crore seems to be the new normal.
The latest movie to rack up Rs 300 crore in box-office collections is Sanju, a biopic of actor Sanjay Dutt, which has broken all records to emerge as the biggest hit of this year. At the moment, it’s still a small list, but it’s been growing rapidly in the past few years. So far, seven Hindi movies have made the Rs 300 crore club: Dangal, Tiger Zinda Hai, PK, Padmavat, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Baahubali 2, and Sultan. Sanju is the eighth on the list.
Media reports say Sanju–which tracks the actor’s troubled life–offers the best return on investment because its costs were relatively lower. Either way, the monster hit is the latest testament to director Rajkumar Hirani’s ability to crank out blockbusters each time. Hirani’s films–including 3 Idiots, Munnabhai MBBS, and PK–have together raked in more than Rs 1,500 core in box-office collections. And from all accounts that number is nudging Rs 2,000 crore after Sanju’s success across the country.
The Indian film industry is the world’s largest by output and generally cranks out pot-boilers with lots of music and masala thrown in. But the arrival of multiplexes and more Hollywood films has changed audience tastes as well as the nature of cinema. Sanju is one of a growing list of biopics such as Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Dhoni that have been attracting audiences in droves.
The question now is: Will Sanju be able to match other blockbusters such as Dangal and Baahubali which have notched over Rs 700 crore in global collections? It’s only been two weeks since its release, but some industry experts are pinning their hopes on Hirani’s Midas touch. The rate at which it’s been going, might just make that club as well soon.