There was no war of the Khans, no Roshan heroism and no Bachchan magic. 2009 nears an end without having seen a blockbuster or a big hit. Experts say that the last blockbuster that Bollywood saw was Ghajini in December 2008.
Blame it on the economic slowdown, the producer-multiplex rift or simply bad quality — the industry is now desperately pinning its hopes on 3 Idiots, My Name Is Khan, Veer, Paa, and Kites, all of which release in the next three months.
“There has not been a single Shah Rukh or Aamir film that are mostly touted as blockbuster hits. These two actors have the maximum appeal,” says film critic Rajeev Masand.
“The producer-multiplex row which put films on hold for three months cost us Rs 300 crore,” says Deepak Taluja of Fun Cinemas. “Viewers was spoilt for choice after that. The release dates clashed which hampered the business terribly,” says trade analyst Komal Nahata.
Gautam Dutta of PVR feels though the year didn’t have had a blockbuster hit, there was enough variety of films to call it ‘excellent’. “Opening weekend accounts for the 60-65 per cent of the total collection. And the big films that later didn’t do well had excellent openings which covered up for the multiplexes. So we did have a decent run,” says Dutta.
Many also feel that big films with big marketing and promotional budgets didn’t do the trick because viewers looked through the bad quality. Cases in point being Blue, Kambakkht Ishq, Chandni Chowk To China and Dil Bole Hadippa. “Bollywood needs to get rid of kaamchori. The notion of getting big stars to get huge revenues has to change. We need to look for good storylines instead of rip-offs,” says Nahata.
“Corporate involvement in increasing film budgets also affected business. They can’t expect returns matching their budgets. Also stars like Akshay and Salman should rationalise their pay cheques and help the industry through this crisis wherein we’re desperately looking for a blockbuster hit.”