Hits and flops of the year

From high-budget flops to indie hits, Indian cinema saw a range of films this year. Metrolife takes a look at a few of this box office highs and lows
Last Updated 30 December 2019, 02:00 IST

From high-budget flops to indie hits, Indian cinema saw a range of films this year. Metrolife takes a look at a few of this year’s box office highs and lows


Beginning with the highs, IMDb has ranked ‘Peranbu’ as the highest-rated Indian film of the year. The Tamil drama, directed by Ram, follows the journey of a father (Mammootty) and his daughter. The deceptively simple film deals with heavy handed topics of disability, sexual desire, suicide, transgenders and more. Another standout film was Vijay Sethupathi starrer ‘Super Deluxe’. It too handles difficult topics with ease. It sees the star playing the role of a transgender woman.

The Tamil industry also saw multiple big-star releases such as Rajinikanth’s ‘Petta’, Vijay’s ‘Bigil’ and Ajith’s ‘Viswasam’ — all of which raked in big collections.

Smaller films such as ‘To Let’ and ‘House Arrest’ also gained critical acclaim. The industry’s biggest flops came in the form of ‘Mr Local’ and ‘90ml’. The former is Nayantara’s first big misstep of the year and the latter sees Big Boss alum Oviya in the lead.


Small town story ‘Kumbalangi Nights’ took the lead. Performances by Soubin Shahir and Fahadh Faasil elevated the film that centered on two families.

Tight writing in Aashiq Abu’s ‘Virus’ saw an ensemble cast tackling the tale of the Nipah Virus outbreak. Shane Nigam starrer ‘Ishq’ was a film filled to the brim with tension and punctuated by Shane’s acting chops. The industry was also taken on the festival circuit by two diverse films — Lijo Jose Peliserry’s ‘Jallikattu’ and Gethu Mohandas’s ‘Moothon’. Both received critical acclaim.

Prithvraj’s directorial debut, the Mohanlal-starrer ‘Lucifer’ took home the title of highest grosser.

But with all these highs came extreme lows. With too many to name, ‘Oru Adaar Love’ which propelled wink girl Priya Warrier to fame is a top contender. Others include Nayanthara’s second misstep, the Nivin Pauly-starrer ‘Love Action Drama’ and Prithiviraj-starrer ‘Brother’s Day’. Mohanlal and Mammootty both had flops with ‘Ittymani’ and ‘18am Padi’ respectively.


June seemed to be the month of hits for the industry with three of the most loved films having released then. First was ‘Game Over’ which had Taapsee Pannu in the lead. The movie deals with a nyctophobic gamer and does a phenomenal job of making the audience feel her fears.

The next week had two sleeper hits, ‘Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya’ saw Naveen Polishetty essay the title character in a no-nonsense detective story, and ‘Mallesham’ was a biopic without the cliched heroic tropes.

‘Jersey’, which released earlier this year, also received high praise. It tells the story of a cricketer (Nani) and his attempt at a comeback.

Big budget and star power did nothing for Prabhas starrer ‘Saaho’. Rs 300 crore was spent to make this film, which tanked critically, with a 5.3 IMDb rating and a 9 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.


This year’s Oscar entry was Zoya Akhtar’s ‘Gully Boy’. The Ranveer Singh-Alia Bhatt starrer brought Bombay’s underground hiphop scene to the mainstream. But by far, the most talked about film was Shahid Kapoor starrer ‘Kabir Singh’. The remake of the Telugu cult classic ‘Arjun Reddy’, divided audiences for its misogynistic tones and glorification of abusive relationships. Films inspired by true events like ‘Uri’, ‘Saand Ki Aankh’, ‘The Sky is Pink’ and ‘Article 15’ performed well.

Two political biopics ‘PM Narendra Modi’ and ‘The Accident Prime Minister’ both tanked at the box office. But the biggest flops of the year were Netflix’s ‘Drive’ and Karan Johar’s nepotism-fueled ‘Student Of The Year 2’.


2019 saw the end to one of the biggest grossing film franchises of the decade. ‘Avengers: Endgame’ was pure fanfare but was well received by critics. But looking away from Disney dominated Hollywood, Keanu Reeves starrer ‘John Wick 3’ did what it did best, paint a pretty picture full of blood, violence and chopped fingers. Another sequel that wowed viewers was ‘Doctor Sleep’. Following the Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ is no easy feat but Mike Flanagan did it with some great cinematography and a vicious villain.

Other top picks include ‘Ford v Ferrari’, the retelling of the legendary 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. Powered by a solid cast, it was a treat for racing and history buffs. The ensemble cast whodunit ‘Knives Out’ too did well. It had an original script and put every character through a maze before the mystery unravelled.

The worst of the lot was probably ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’. It left many with only one question —Why? It went through several reshoots, had bland characters and once again failed on properly adapting the Dark Phoenix.

Ang Lee’s Gemini Man saw Will Smith in a double role. But a mix of both a cheap plot and mediocre acting left viewers with a bad taste.

Horror flick ‘The Curse of the Weeping Woman’ was a tedious exercise on how to bore its viewers, with a cliched plot, bland acting and flat characters.

(Published 29 December 2019, 12:12 IST)

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