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Bollywood?s biggest year

It is going to be Bollywood's biggest year. If not in revenues, then in budgets, writes Sandeep Bamzai.

india Updated: Jun 14, 2006 03:17 IST

It is going to be the biggest year of Bollywood. Well, If not in revenues, then certainly in budgets, scale, size and grandeur.

Remakes, sequels, adaptations and spanking new concepts are all part of this year's fare. The entire show is set to jumpstart on June 23 with Filmkraft's Rakesh Roshan-helmed Krrish. President of Film and TV Producers Guild, Amit Khanna, reckons that over Rs 500 crore are riding on a stream of big-budget splashes set for back-to-back debuts. “The bar has been raised. This year already there are two films which will cross the $20 million gross mark — Rang De Basanti and Fanaa,” he said.

Immediately after Krrish, the line-up is J.P. Dutta's Umrao Jaan and Vishal Bhardwaj's Othello adaptation Omkara in July. Krrish was shot for 95 days in Singapore, and has reportedly cost close to Rs 50 crore to make. While Omkara and Umrao Jaan have smaller budgets, the mother of all the Hindi films is next in line for release; Karan Johar's weepie Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, shot on location in New York. Unarguably India's most expensive Hindi film, reportedly made for an astronomical Rs 70 crore, its tryst with the cinemas is set for August 18. Film-maker Yash Chopra said that he was convinced this was going to be the Hindi cinema's greatest year. He said, “It will be our biggest year, mark my words, bigger will be better. This is the year of superhits, look at the line-up.”

Among the other big releases are Munnabhai Meets Mahatma Gandhi and Sony Pictures/Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Eklavya. Both movies star Sunjay Dutt. Talking to Hindustan Times, Dutt said that he was excited about both films because they offered different shades to him as an actor. Sony Pictures India signed the deal to acquire the overseas and Indian distribution rights of the Rs 25 crore Eklavya on Tuesday. Even as all these movies try and grab your eyeballs, and you think there will be a respite as the summer gives way to the rains, slated for release are Mani Ratnam's Rs 14 crore Guru, which shows the fabled battle between a newspaper baron and an industrialist; Rs 20 crore Salam-e-Ishq; Sajid Nadiadwala's Rs 26 crore Jaanemaan which has also been shot in the US; Ravi Chopra's Rs 40 crore Babul. In many ways, the culmination of this six-month drama will come during Diwali when a headbanger's ball features the clash of the titans, a joust between the well-toned bodies of Yash Raj Films Dhoom II and Farhan Akhtar's Don redux featuring Shahrukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra.