Hindi movies appear to be inching closer to pre-Covid collection figures, going by the latest data.

It is almost six months since Hindi movie audiences returned to single-screen theatres and multiplexes after months of Covid-induced restrictions, which began in March 2020.

Though the number of releases was almost one-third pre-pandemic level, the box office collection was almost 88.87 per cent.

It must be remembered that in the initial months of the post-pandemic market, movies were screened with 50 per cent occupancy due to Covid restrictions in some states.

Data from entertainment news website ‘Bollywood Hungama’ showed there were 31 Hindi movie releases from November 2021 to April 2022.

A comparative analysis of pre-Covid period — November 2019 to March 2020 (lockdown was in force in April) and November 2018 to April 2019 — showed 94 and 101 releases, respectively.

Rohit Shetty’s Sooryavanshi was the first major release in the post-pandemic market and it recorded net collections exceeding ₹190 crore. Until then, a majority of the bigger Hindi stars’ movies were released on OTT platforms.

Rise of south

Movies originally made in South Indian languages and dubbed in Hindi ruled the post-pandemic market for Hindi films, accounting for around 44.18 per cent of the box office collections.

Yash-starrer KGF-2, produced by Bengaluru-based Hombale Films and directed by Prashant Neel, raked in more than ₹412 crore in the Hindi market alone, topping the post-pandemic market. It accounted for 23.04 per cent of Hindi movies collections during the period.

Rajamouli’s RRR, starring Junior NTR and Ram Charan, was the second highest grosser in the Hindi market, at ₹270 crore.

Another movie from the south, Pushpa: The Rise, starring Allu Arjun, grossed over ₹100 crore.

However, not all Hindi-dubbed movies from the south clicked at the box office. Prabhas-starrer Radhe Shyam and Vijay-starrer Beast failed to make an impact in the Hindi box office.

Bollywood — a colloquial reference to the Hindi movie industry based in Mumbai — struggled to produce hits during the period, barring a few like Sooryavanshi, Gangubai Kathiawadi and 83.

Content matters

A glance at the top collections during the November-April period of 2021-22, 2019-20, and 2018-19 shows that content played a major role.

Uri: The Surgical Strike, which was released in January 2019, earned more than ₹245 crore. The action film was based on the events surrounding the attack on Indian forces at Uri in 2016 and the retaliation to it.

Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior, which released in January 2020, topped with more than ₹279 crore at the box office. This historical action movie was based on the Maratha warrior Tanhaji Malusare.

In the post-pandemic scenario, The Kashmir Files, directed by Vivek Agnihotri, took the Hindi box office by surprise, snapping up over ₹250 crore. It was the only non-south movie to cross the ₹200-crore mark between November 2021 and April 2022.

₹100-plus crore club

Interestingly, there has been an increase in the number of movies crossing ₹100-crore collection in the post-pandemic market, compared with earlier.

During November 2021 to April 2022, 31 movies together netted ₹1,791.85 crore, of which ₹1,478.74 crore (82.53 per cent) came from seven movies that crossed the ₹100-crore mark.

Of the 94 Hindi movies released between November 2019 and March 2020, only four crossed the ₹100-crore mark, accounting for ₹747.61 crore (48.02 per cent) of the net collection of ₹1,556.85 crore.

Comparatively, pre-pandemic performance was better during the November 2018 to April 2019 period, though it was lower than the post-pandemic performance. In all, 101 Hindi movies hit the silver screen during the period, collecting around ₹2,016.09 crore. Of these, seven movies crossed the ₹100-crore mark, accounting for around ₹1,275.3 crore (63.26 per cent).