In what is still a post-nascent stage of the new-age revolution in Kannada Cinema, 2019 was a satisfactory year, both in terms of content & revenue, for Sandalwood. They say “Well begun is half the job done”, and with our beginning being KGF Chapter 1 ( late December’18 release), this year commenced on a good note. There were a few hiccups, but here is a short analysis of all that happened after a positive opening to 2019.
The All-Important Number – 220
Inclusive of the Tulu films, a whopping number of 220 flicks were made in Karnataka this year. The count though is still 10 behind the record in 2018. Of the 220 films, 205 belonged to the Kannada language. Fortuner & Avane Srimannarayana were the two prominent movies that started & finished the count in 2019.
Of the 205 Kannada films, very few were successful at the box-office. Of them, the majority starred the popular names. These films are Yajamana, Kurukshetra, Bell Bottom, Pailwaan, Kavaludaari, I Love You and Avane Srimannarayana.
A couple of flicks received critical acclaim and exceeded their expectations at the ticket counter. Some of them also achieved break-even at the box-office. Films falling in this category are Birbal Trilogy-Finding Vajramuni, Bazaar, Panchatantra, Gantumoote, Premier Padmini, Katha Sangama, Chemistry of Kariappa and Geetha. Movies like Mundina Nildana, Paddehuli, and Vrithra also take a mention in this list.
The unsuccessful ones
It is hard to digest but a few flicks failed to meet expectations at the theatres. Fortuner, Udgharsha, Amar, Gimmick, and Soojidaara are some of the films in this category.
So, what happened differently in 2019?
KGF Chapter 1. This movie brought attention to the industry and in effect, a few Kannada movies found mention across the country. The occurrence of this had been scarce, prior to this year. In fact, movies like Kavaludaari, Gantumoote, and Avane Srimannarayana were covered extensively by sites such as Film Companion, etc.
With Adarsh Eshwarappa’s Bhinna, Sandalwood produced its first-ever OTT original feature. A couple of other movies, such as KGF Chapter 1 and Gantumoote did well on the streaming platforms.
A few big-budgeted dubbing movies released in Sandalwood in 2019. However, none of them made an impact on the audience. Despite Sudeep being a part of them, both Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy and Dabangg 3 bombed at the Sandalwood box-office.
2020 and Beyond
2020 will be an exciting year for Sandalwood. The much-awaited KGF Chapter 2 will find release, while other interesting movies such as Yuvarathna, Robert, Kotigobba 3 and Charlie 777 will also release this year.
However, Sandalwood could start focussing on producing quality content consistently from now on. Although the content is genuinely improving, to widen the market and attract more novel movies, the rate at which quality movies are currently being churned out must increase. The industry could also take a cue from its neighbors regarding marketing strategies. Many movie promotions had no planning at all, which affected their performance at the box-office.