Although Bollywood has an array of big-ticket films lined up for release in 2009, Hollywood could prove tough competition with an assorted platter of movies to woo Indian audiences, including Changeling, Slumdog Millionaire and Seven Pounds.
Bollywood films usually have an upper hand over international films in India, but there was no Hindi releases in the first week of 2009. Interestingly, the year began with Baz Luhrmann's period drama Australia followed by Colin Farrel-starrer In Bruges, Australian dance musical Razzle Dazzle and director John Jeffcoat's Outsourced - all four opened to mixed reviews.
Last year wasn't too exciting for the Hindi film industry, but it ended on a good note thanks to Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and Ghajini. While Rab Ne... is a romantic drama with superstar Shah Rukh Khan and newcomer Anushka Sharma in the lead roles, Aamir Khan-starrer Ghajini is an action thriller. Both the films are still raking in the moolah at the box office.
While the first week was dry as far as Hindi movies are concerned, on January 9 will see the release of a bouquet of five small budget Hindi films - Bad Luck Govind, Horn Ok Pleassss, Kaashh...Mere Hote, 42 Kms... and The President Is Coming.
But the first major Hollywood-Bollywood clash would surface Jan 16 when Golden Globe nominated period thriller Changeling, starring Angelina Jolie, releases along with Akshay Kumar's much-hyped Chandni Chowk To China.
On Januaru 23, Danny Boyle's critically acclaimed and multiple award-winning Slumdog Millionaire will hit the screens and will compete with actress Nandita Das' directorial debut Firaaq, Raaz - The Mystery Continues, the much-talked about sequel to the 2002 hit horror film Raaz, and The Murderer.
In the last week of January, Brad Pitt's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Will Smith starrer Seven Pounds are pitted against Harman Baweja's second film Victory and Zoya Akhtar's much-talked about directorial debut Luck By Chance. The cast of Zoya's film includes her actor-director brother Farhan along with Hrithik Roshan and Konkona Sen Sharma.
Mega Hollywood projects are in line for release throughout February as well. Historical film Frost/Nixon, and British-American drama Revolutionary Road will open with Anurag Kashyap's Dev D and Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Billu Barber.
The following month will have American superhero film Watchmen, which would most probably coincide with the release of Vishal Bharadwaj's Kaminay and Amrita Rao-starrer Shortcut: The Con Is On.
Golden Globe nominated Gran Torino is also expected to release in March alongside Anurag Kashyap's Gullal. Both are tentatively slated for March 13 release.
It is not just in the first quarter of 2009 that Hollywood will be inundating the theatres.
There is an interesting line-up of films, including much-awaited biggies like Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince, Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, Star Trek 11, Fast and Furious 4, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Johnny Depp-starrer Public Enemies, for the later months as well.
But Bollywood seems ready to match up to these with quite a few much-awaited biggies. These include Shahid Kapur starrer Pathshala, Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor's Kambakkht Ishq, Aamir Khan's next production Delhi Belly, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Delhi-6, Kabir Khan's New York and Shah Rukh Khan-starrer My Name Is Khan.