Diwali releases are usually a mixed bag for Bollywood. While some films rake in the moolah, others simply crash and burn. For every blockbuster, there is a bomb. But then sometimes, even average films can set the fireworks going.This year, Shah Rukh Khan’s Rs100 crore plus super hero flick Ra.One is opening on Diwali along with Himesh Reshammiya’s comic caper Damadamm and Hema Malini’s relaunch vehicle for her daughter, Esha Deol, Tell Me, O Khuda. Looking back over the years, it becomes obvious that SRK, in a way, owns Diwali: Baazigar, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Om Shanti Om, Don, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Dil Toh Pagal Hai and Mohabbatein were all Diwali releases, and most have been box office rippers.
2010: Duniya Hai Gol
Last year, two mega budget films, Golmaal 3 and Action Replayy hit theatres on Diwali. While Golmaal had already established itself as a force to be reckoned with, thanks to its past two episodes, Action Replayy boasted the Akshay Kumar-Vipul Shah combination earlier seen in Namaste London and Singh is Kingg. However, it was Golmaal 3 that triumphed at the box office, with the second biggest weekend opening after Dabangg, with a gross collection of R60 crore in India and R10 crore overseas. Action Replayy managed to earn Rs 16 crore.
2009: No Joy
This year turned out to be quite a damp squib despite three mega releases – Blue, All The Best and Mr Aurr Mrs Khanna. None set the cash registers ringing, though All The Best managed to recover its costs. The biggest shocker of all was Akshay Kumar’s super expensive and super lame Blue. The film boasted thrilling underwater sequences, Akshay Kumar’s ripped muscles, Lara Dutta in a bikini or less, AR Rahman’s music and an item number by Kylie Minogue. Yet, all you can remember is Sanjay Dutt’s paunch. Meanwhile, Mr Aurr Mrs Khanna simply sank.
2008: Smiles All Around
This was definitely one happy Diwali for Bollywood. Rohit Shetty’s Golmaal Returns hit the bull’s eye and earned R50 crore net profit. Even Fashion, a dark film about a model’s life, did exceedingly well at the box office.
2007: Om Success Om
This year belonged to Farah Khan and her tribute to Bollywood in Om Shanti Om (OSO), starring Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone. OSO went on to become the highest grossing film ever and collected a whopping Rs140 crore. On the other hand, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus Saawariya received brickbats from critics and audiences. Even Ranbir Kapoor’s towel-dropping sequence couldn’t salvage the film.
2006: The Year of Dishoom
The warring Khans of Bollywood – Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan - came face to face with Jaan-e-Mann and Don respectively. SRK’s new and stylised Don did not impress critics and old-schoolers, but many went to watch the film out of sheer curiosity. It collected a sizeable Rs 90 crore and was termed a hit. Jaan-e-Mann, on the other hand, was a huge failure.
This was yet another eagerly awaited Diwali as three big films opened at the box office. The Akshay Kumar-John Abraham starrer Garam Masala struck the right chord with the audience and was the clear winner with a decent Rs13 crore. Priydarshan’s much-hyped Kyon Ki, starring Kareena Kapoor and Salman Khan, crashed. David Dhawan’s Shaadi No. 1 also failed to find any takers.
2004: Veer for Victory
After three dull seasons with duds like Ssshhhh and Raja Bhaiya in 2003, and Jeena Sirf Mere Liye, Annarth, Waah Tera Kya Kehna, Deewanapan and Yeh Zindagi Ka Safar in 2001-2002, Diwali 2004 brought in some much needed respite.
Four films were pitted against each other and the competition was tough, but the King of Diwali releases, SRK managed to win yet again with his across-the-border romantic drama Veer Zaara. Not only were Indian audiences awed by the powerful love story, it took the overseas market by storm. It collected Rs19 crore in just six weeks.
Another firecracker that year came in the form of Aitraaz. Audiences not only lapped up the film, but Priyanka Chopra’s sexy Sharon Stone-esque leg crossing scene catapulted her to the league of extraordinary women in Bollywood. The other two releases – Naach starring Antara Mali and Abhishek Bachchan and Mughal-e-Azam in colour – just sank.
From HT Brunch, October 23
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