It seems 2015 is going to be the year that would define the new paradigm of film making for Hindi cinema, a paradigm, which is characterised by a lead actress playing the key role, and supported by a star cast, which is not that eminently commercial, perhaps to provide an opportunity to display the histrionics and reap in dividend at the box office. The underlining motif of this paradigm shift is that 2015 as emerged as the year where it is the content which is driving cinema and not the supposed star power at the box office that is facilitating collection for the first three days and after that the film becomes a part of the history.
It started with NH10, which Anushka Sharma produced and became the first film of the year to claim real success, so far having done the business of Rs. 32 crore. The lead actor opposite Anushka Sharma in the form of Neil Bhoopalam, by choice or by sheer commercial consideration ( As the producer was Anushka Sharma herself, she may not have been inclined to take a star, but an actor so that the content could be the defining motif for the film, as also give her an opportunity to explore herself as an actor) meant that the initial draw at the box office would be guided by the star value of Anushka Sharma and subsequently it would be the content that would drive the footfall.
It was followed by PIKU which seemed to work on the same template as NH10, where a Deepika Padukone paired opposite Irrfan Khan and a Big B meant that it was her initial star power that would could or would ensure the initial footfall, but subsequent collections would indeed be driven by the content. PIKU has emerged as another surprise hit for 2015 so far having done a business of Rs. 65 crore, and racing to brace the 100 crore mark. In the case of PIKU Deepika Padukone has really unraveled and explored herself, which she may not have been able to do, had she been paired opposite a super star. Such has been the outreach and impact of the film that the audience has really started revisiting the manner in which they conducted relationships with their elder parents.
But the real success story of 2015 has been TANU WEDS MANU RETURNS. It is first official film that has reached the magic figures of 100 crore and has so far done business of more than 129 crores. It has underlined the fact that indeed Kangana Ranaut has toppled all the paradigms of film making and has emerged as the numero uno QUEEN at the box office. It has never happened in the history of Hindi cinema where an actress is defining the contours of film making and doing things on her own terms.
For a film actress to define her success commercially and critically without the support of an established male star, is a paradigm that the traditional school of film making in India could never have thought off, but these three actresses, the pack ably led by Kangana Ranaut has served warning signal at the box office that they do not need a commercial star to make their presence felt commercially and critically. These indeed are interesting times for Hindi cinema and hope more ladies would follow in the league soon.