Truly the best ever - the quality of films, their commercial prospects and their presence worldwide. It was never so good. And I would like to believe this is just the beginning' -Amitabh Bachchan on 2006 for Bollywood.
And he is not the only one who is delighted with the performance of the industry this year. 2006 has brought a smile on everybody's face in Bollywood. Trade pundits are already busy calculating the business Bollywood has done in 2006.
The figures, as of now, are astounding. Trade expert Taran Adarsh assesses that the volume of business has increased by 40 per cent. Hits after hits with money pouring in - it's indeed party time for the Indian Film Industry.
Business wise, all kinds of films made money at the box-office. If the biggies like Rang De Basanti, Fanaa, Krrish, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Lage Raho Munnabhai, Don and Dhoom 2 did exceptionally well, small-budget films like Khosla Ka Ghosla, Pyaar Ke Side Effects and Malamaal Weekly also raked in huge profits.
Even Sooraj Barjatya's Vivah, which was highly panned by the critics due to its weak story, has been a big success at the box-office. And the profits have been greater than last year.
The net domestic gross of big-budget films like Krrish (Rs 64.86 crore), RDB (Rs 51.07 crore), Fanaa (Rs 53.13 crore), Lage Raho Munnabhai (Rs 69.94 crore), KANK (Rs 46.40 crore), Don (Rs 49.97 crore) and Dhoom 2 (Rs 68.24 crore) has been far more than that of 2005's big hits like No Entry (Rs 44.84 crore), Bunty Aur Babli (Rs 34.62 crore) or 2004's Veer- Zaara (Rs 41 crore) (Source: Boxofficeindia.com).
Besides them, experimental projects with unconventional storylines like Golmaal, Phir Hera Pheri and Gangster also grossed in large profits. Even the lack-luster Malamaal Weekly grossed Rs. 30 crore. Khosla Ka Ghosla did business worth Rs. 9 crore and Pyaar Ke Side/Effects amassed Rs. 17 crore. And all of these films had a budget of Rs. 10 crore. And this stint hasn't got over yet. Reports say that even the latest released Kabul Express and Bhagam Bhag are doing well.
Well, we shouldn't assess Bollywood on the basis of figures alone; the success lies elsewhere. 2006 marks the triumph of variety in Bollywood. And this time the small and medium budget films opened a new chapter in Bollywood.
Says filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar, "This year has been particularly good for Bollywood as all kinds of movies have worked. There has been so much of variety, which has worked wonders for the industry."
Adds actor-director Anupam Kher, "With the audience being cinema savvy, the whole scenario has changed. People now understand what entertainment is about." Indeed, the success of small-budget films like Khosla Ka Ghosla proves that the audience is ready to appreciate films with good subjects with or without stars.
This trend is interesting if you look at what happened in 2003 and 2004, when hits were elusive. The industry lost money in spite of multi-starrers and big-budget films like Kal Ho Naa Ho and Baghban.
The trend was similar in 2004 with Veer-Zaara, Main Hoon Na, Dhoom and Hum Tum setting the cash registers ringing. In 2005, biggies like Bunty Aur Babli, Black, Waqt The Race Against Time, No Entry, Sarkar and Parineeta were successes, but the smaller films, except Page 3, didn't quite click.
Subject is the winner
The success of Bollywood this year also has to do with the subjects of films. If Rang De Basanti had patriotism at its core, Lage Raho Munnabhai resurrected Gandhian values in the youth.
Even- a director like Karan Johar, who is famous for his larger than life candy-floss flicks, came up with Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, which got a lot og flak due to its plot that dealt with extra-marital affairs.