Sidharth Malhotra, Alia Bhatt, Fawad Afzal Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor
The first quarter was dominated by content-driven films, say trade experts. Pictured: (Clockwise) Sidharth Malhotra, Alia Bhatt and Fawad Khan promoting "Kapoor and Sons;" Akshay Kumar and Nimrat Kaur at a media interaction for their film "Airlift;" Sonam Kapoor talking about "Neerja" at IIT, Bombay.Varinder Chawla

Roughly 28 Bollywood films were released in the first quarter (January-March) of 2016, out of which only three proved to be "smash hits." "Airlift," "Neerja" and "Kapoor and Sons" won the appreciation of the viewers, in the process shining at the box office.

Trade analyst Taran Adarsh told Mid-Day that the first three months of the year were dominated by content-driven films.

"Airlift" was based on a true story and saw its leading man Akshay Kumar take a detour from his usual song-dance routine, which was a welcome change. Sonam Kapoor's "Neerja" too ditched Bollywood's best-known traditions to narrate the story of brave-heart Neerja Bhanot. "Kapoor and Sons" had the most refreshing take on familial problems and relationships.

The business of the quarter's top seven grossers comes to around Rs. 427 crore, the publication reported.

Films like "Wazir," which came with a promising cast — Amitabh Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar, Aditi Rao Hydari — failed to create magic at the ticket window. Priyanka Chopra's IPS officer turn in "Jai Gangaajal" was met with a similar fate.

These films may not have made the kind of money they were expected to, but they cannot be branded as "disasters." What can be called a "major setback" is "Fitoor," the Abhishek Kapoor directorial, which had big names leading it and yet failed to earn money.

Trade pundit Amod Mehra told the leading daily that the Katrina Kaif-Aditya Roy Kapur starrer was made on a budget of Rs. 75 crore and the film recovered only one-third of it. The industry bore losses of Rs. 225-250 crore (first quarter), to which "Fitoor" contributed Rs. 50 crore.

"There were a few unsuccessful films too, but Airlift, Neerja and 'Kapoor & Sons' held sway. The real season of biggies begins shortly," Taran added.