The year 2006 was a golden one for Bollywood with hits after hits making producers elated. In contrast, 2007 has not yet given us much to smile about, especially when compared to last year, say trade experts. However, the crucial period is coming with the year-end releases starting in November.
Crores at stake
The first big clash will take place on November 9 with Shah Rukh Khan’s Om Shanti Om releasing on the same day as Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Saawariya. Then UTV’s Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal faces competition from Sanjay Gupta’s Dus Kahaniyaan.
Following these movies is the Madhuri Dixit-starrer Aaja Nachle, which is keenly awaited because the actor is making a comeback with this film. In December, Anees Bazmee’s Welcome, Aamir Khan’s Taare Zameen Par, Sudhir Mishra’s Khoya Khoya Chaand and Gupta’s Woodstock Villa are set to hit the theatres.<b1>
“I would put it (the money that is at stake) at roughly Rs 200 crore,” says trade expert Taran Adarsh. What makes the situation more interesting is the number of big stars whose films are up for release — starting from Shah Rukh Khan to Aamir Khan and Madhuri Dixit. One also cannot forget Akshay Kumar, who has had three hits in a row with Namastey London, Heyy Babyy and Bhool Bhulaiyaa.
“Diwali has never been so big. With Om Shanti Om being sold at Rs 75 crore and Saawariya costing around Rs 45 crore, it’s going to be quite interesting. The industry might as well get three new stars in Ranbir Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor and Deepika Padukone,” says trade expert Komal Nahta.
The right combination of films makes the coming months all the more interesting. Viewers will have a period film in Khoya Khoya Chand, a complete masala package in Om Shanti Om and a children’s film in Taare Zameen Par, which is also Aamir’s debut venture as a director.
What went wrong?
Adarsh attributes the lack of big hits so far this year to “bad scripts and bad films”. We have had successes such as Guru
(Rs 41,65,00,000), Heyy Babyy (Rs 51,60,00,000), Bhool Bhulaiyaa (Rs 41,27,00,000) and Chak De! India (Rs 63,64,00,000) along with Namastey London, Partner, Shootout At Lokhandwala, Aap Kaa Surroor and average films such as Life In A Metro, Dhamaal and Bheja Fry. However, that super-duper blockbuster hasn’t quite arrived except for Chak De!.
Jab We Met is doing well, but certainly cannot be called a blockbuster. By this time last year, there were blockbusters in Krrish, Lage Raho Munnabhai, Rang De Basanti and super-hits in Fanaa and Phir Hera Pheri to mention a few.
Duds such as Salaam-e-Ishq, Eklavya¸ Nishabd, Tara Rum Pum, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom and Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag have not quite made producers and analysts happy. With Laaga Chunari Mein Daag also not really faring well at the box office, the concerns seem justified.
“In the absence of good films, the audience is left to choose from ordinary fare,” says filmmaker Sudhir Mishra who has his Khoya Khoya Chand, which is reportedly based on the love story between Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rahman, coming up later this year. “The year 2007 is not even close to what 2006 was. We cannot say it has been a very good year so far with many expected hits biting the dust,” says Nahta.
A lot depends on how the coming two months turn out. “Om… will get a great opening and so will Saawariya. It’s the perfect blend with all sorts of films in store. Taare Zameen Par will be good, too,” says Dhan Dhan Dhan Goal director Vivek Agnihotri.