Tops & flops 2005
It was a year of personalities and not about cinema. We went to the movies and we came back picking popcorn out of our teeth and the hair off our heads.india Updated: Dec 31, 2005 03:19 IST
It was a year of personalities and not about cinema. We went to the movies and we came back picking popcorn out of our teeth and the hair off our heads. Quality hit an all time low as production and presentation opportunities soared. The New Year doesn’t promise radical transformation, but at least a gentle breeze of change has been felt wafting through Bollywood.
Winds of change
In the year 2005, Bollywood stepped into the 21st century. Themes of infidelity and pre-marital sex ruled the roost in the daring to be different realm. Sanjay Dutt goaded wife Aishwarya Rai to have an affair with a younger man (Shabd) for selfish reasons, a carefree Saif Ali Khan had pre-marital sex with live-in partner Preity Zinta (Salaam Namaste), a hormonally overactive Nikki suggestively asked Neal for a corkscrew and a verbally challenged village boy made it to the Indian cricket team (Iqbal). All on the desi screen, with the masala quotient intact.
Big baap of ’em all
Thumbs up for the Big B. At 60-plus, Amitabh Bachchan still rules. The grand old icon showed he’s still a superstar, with a successful KBC comeback, and with solid scripts being written exclusively for him (Black, Virrudh, Sarkar). For the rest, the crowd outside Mumbai’s Lilavati Hospital said it all.
Fifteen-minutes of fame
While they all claim to be going to Hollywood, it was left to a little film to really make an impact at Oscars 2005. Delhi boy Ashvin Kumar’s 15-minute effort, Little Terrorist, was the only Indian entry at the Academy Awards in 2005 (in the Short Film category). The rest of the films had to settle for making a big noise about their smaller achievements.
Zara hatke success
The niche film has really come of age. Madhur Bhandarkar’s Page 3, Nagesh Kukunoor’s Iqbal and Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Black proved that one doesn’t necessarily need multicrore hungama with jhatkas and PYTs in slits and peek-a-boo tops to rake it in. Not to mention that length matters too now and the age of the three-hour Hindi film seems to have past.
More screens, more fun
The single screen cinemas might have more charm and cheaper tickets, but the multiplex culture has crept into Mumbai’s fabric, from the far suburbs to downtown. Armrests with cup holders, flavoured popcorn, telebooking and food courts add value to your already over-priced movie ticket. But the audiences and filmmakers are happy – multiplexes mean more choice and less bedbug bites.
Remade to disorder
Originality died a death and DVD copies gained a new lease of life this year. Unashamed and self-confessed plagiarism took the more subtle denial about copies to another level. Sanjay Gupta and Mahesh Bhatt lost their monopoly as DVD directors such as Apoorva Lakhia and even Yashraj aped mediocrit across the world.
Crossover myth busted
She went (to Cannes), she flaunted bust, and she truly got busted. Mallika Sherawat’s ‘Hollywood debut’, The Myth starring Jackie Chan, is a damp squib Hong Kong production. And Mallika, who plays an Indian princess in the film, just has an eight-minute role -- that’s a minute’s footage longer than her pet elephant. Mallika had pompously announced how, after The Myth, her competition would be with Salma Hayek. This and all the other tall claims of crossing over to Hollywood were greeted with jeers rather than cheers. Show us the money, said the media.
Period falls to pieces
Production values, research and a mustachioed protagonist did not win over audiences, whether a patriot like Aamir Khan’s Mangal Pandey or a fictional character played by Shah Rukh Khan in Paheli. Akbar Khan’s Taj Mahal blundered in the casting and poor visual effects and Shyam Benegal’s Bose-The Forgotten Hero tested impatient viewers with an over-three hour thesis on Subhash Chandra Bose. History was rewritten as audiences rejected period films, especially those with bad wigs and facial hair.
We seriously thought it was a joke when they announced that Paheli was India’s official entry to the Oscars. Why? Because Vinod Pandey, acting chairman of the Film Federation of India (he’s a bombed filmmaker too) feels the film represents 'Indian ethos'? Last heard, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, was seeing varying shades of red. This on the back of the controversial awarding Saif Ali Khan the National Award for best actor for Hum Tum.
They’ve shifted the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) permanently to Goa, but the sarkari mood continues. It’s madness, actually. First, Amitabh Bachchan was invited as chief guest to the inaugural function, and then ‘uninvited’. Bachchan fans have cried foul, claiming political conspiracy. But IFFI had more hungama in store. Bipasha Basu got mobbed at the inauguration — she dived back into her car and cried to be taken home. And the media lamented the lack of seats at the auditoria. Hardly the way to go, if Jaipal Reddy wants Goa to match up to Cannes. First cut the red tape.