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A year of two halves for Bollywood in 2011

A low budget film inspired by the life and death of a racy 1980s' B movie actress was the surprise Bollywood hit of 2011, in a year that started slowly but finished well.

bollywood Updated: Dec 13, 2011 18:09 IST

A low budget film inspired by the life and death of a racy 1980s' B movie actress was the surprise Bollywood hit of 2011, in a year that started slowly but finished well.

A packed, back to back schedule of World Cup one-day cricket and the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament ensured that cinema audiences were down in the first half of the year.

Business picked up later in the year, with Salman Khan's action comedy Ready the first of a string of hits that included Sanjay Dutt's slapstick Double Dhamaal and Aamir Khan's screwball comedy Delhi Belly.

The mystery Ragini MMS, action crime drama Murder 2 and the Hrithik Roshan-Katrina Kaif road movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (You Only Live Once) all did well also.

But none captured the public imagination more than The Dirty Picture, which is loosely based on south Indian sex symbol Silk Smitha and has packed cinemas since its release earlier this month.


Sex and Shah Rukh Khan were once famously said to be the only things that sell in Bollywood.

This year, a number of successful films have provided the sex but King Khan failed to deliver, despite the hype surrounding his Diwali release Ra.One.

The $20 million science-fiction superhero film won rave reviews for its stunning special effects but many reviewers were disappointed at its weak script.

The film broke even, thanks to a relentless marketing drive that broke new ground in Indian film promotion but it was not the blockbuster many had been expecting.

The last 12 months were also a disappointment for action hero Akshay Kumar, who brought out three poorly-received films the cricket-themed Patiala House, Thank You and Desi Boyz during the year.

Rising star Ranbir Kapoor, though, continued to show his great promise by delivering the hit Rockstar. Ajay Devgn also had a successful year alongside Salman Khan in Ready and as a no-nonsense cop in Singham.

Leading actress Priyanka Chopra broke new ground, becoming the first Bollywood star to sign a global pop album deal. She will be managed by the man behind Lady Gaga.


Even though offbeat films with lesser-known stars and strong scripts proved popular with audiences, some analysts detected a noticeable return to an earlier, more star-driven format.

"This year, wholesome, entertaining films have worked very well and that has been the trend," said critic Vinod Mirani.

"The success formula of 80s cinema is back and now working very well. All entertaining films of that era that had worked are back in new format this year and they have clicked big time."

As 2011 draws to a close, Shah Rukh Khan is hoping for better success with the release of Don 2 the follow-up to Don, which came out in 2006 and which itself was a remake of the 1978 Amitabh Bachchan hit.


Roshan is also revisiting the Big B's back catalogue with a remake of his 1990 hit Agneepath (Path of Fire).

Next year will see Aamir Khan release Dhoom 3 the third part of the successful franchise as well as Talaash (Search).

Bachchan, who is a new grandfather after the birth of his son Abhishek and daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai's first child in November, is due to appear in his first Hollywood movie a Baz Luhrmann adaptation of The Great Gatsby.

First Published: Dec 13, 2011 13:14 IST