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Solo-hero films are the flavour of the season

Encouraged by the success of Guru, Fanaa, and Krrish, the one-man lead film seems to be in a revival mode in Bollywood, writes Diganta Guha.

india Updated: Apr 10, 2007 18:30 IST

Mani Ratnam’s Guru and Vipul Shah’s Namastey London have a lot in common. They are both big-budget productions, have
succeeded at the box office and surprise, surprise… are solo-hero projects.

Encouraged by the success of films like Fanaa, Don and Krrish last year, the one-man lead film seems to be in a revival mode in

Here we go
Coming up this year are Ashutosh Gowariker’s Jodhaa-Akbar (Hrithik Roshan-Aishwarya Rai), Rajkumar Santoshi’s Halla Bol (Ajay Devgan-Vidya Balan), Siddharth Raj Anand’s Ta Ra Rum Pum (Saif Ali Khan-Rani Mukerji), Cheeni Kum (Amitabh Bachchan-Tabu) and Chak De India (Shah Rukh Khan-Vidya Malvade), Goldie Behl’s Drona (Abhishek Bachchan-Priyanka Chopra) among others. And as per the trends, it's clear that Bollywood is not longer rooting on multi-starrers. The only hit multi-starrer to have released last year was KANK.

<b1>Stars still matter
In the late Eighties and early Nineties films with a male-dominated story were the norm and multi-starrers the exception. From late Nineties onwards filmmakers seemed to shy away from relying on one actor.

Around five years back, the film industry — coping with the new multiplex culture — was passing through a difficult time trying to figure out what would work at the box office.

“Producers wanted an ensemble cast thinking stars no longer sell. And there was a huge insecurity among directors and producers,” says Vipul Shah. The absence of saleable stars also made filmmakers reluctant about single-hero projects.

In the mid- to late-Nineties it was only Shah Rukh Khan who raked in the moolah alone at the box office. And even he started doing multiple-hero projects with Karan Johar and Farah Khan.

While it all depends on the script, director Siddharth Raj Anand whose Ta Ra Rum Pum has Saif Ali Khan in the lead feels, “filmmakers are taking up the challenge of doing solo pair scripts”.

And with multi-hero projects like Salaam-e-Ishq and Eklavya flopping at the box office this year, producers are also more open about putting their money on a single hero film, feels Shah.

Proof in the act
In the recent past actors like Saif Ali Khan (Salaam Namaste, Hum Tum), Akshay Kumar (Namastey London), Hrithik Roshan (Koi Mil Gaya, Krrish) and Abhishek Bachchan (Bunty Aur Babli, Guru) have managed to pull off hits on their own.

Most of these actors have had success largely with multi-starrers in the past. Once the actors manage to prove that they can deliver a hit without another hero, more are willing to put their money on them.

Says a source from UTV, which produced Namastey London, “Producers are now queuing up at Akshay’s door to sign him for solo projects.”

The same thing happened with Saif Ali Khan after Hum Tum worked.

First Published: Apr 10, 2007 18:05 IST