Jan 13, 2009

Entertainment - Aamir Khan blockbuster is Bollywood's biggest grossing movie

Actor Aamir Khan's latest film has become Bollywood's biggest grossing movie, its producers said, lightening the mood in an industry gripped by fears of recession and dwindling audiences.

Ghajini, about a man with memory loss who tattoos himself and takes Polaroid pictures to remember people and places, has made $40 million worldwide since it opened on December 25, Geetha Arts said.

"I am delighted to see the response at the box office," Khan told reporters at a party in Mumbai on Monday night to celebrate the film's success. "I knew this film would be a hit but never expected to be this big."

Bollywood has felt the pinch over the last year as the effects of the global economic downturn took hold, seeing audiences stay away amid fears of a squeeze on disposable income.

It was further hit by last November's Mumbai attacks, which left theatres empty and prompted the cancellation of glitzy premieres as well as screenings of recently-released films.

Bollywood watchers had high hopes that Ghajini and love story Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi starring Shah Rukh Khan -- whose releases were both put back because of the attacks -- would woo audiences.

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi has also done well since its release on December 12.

Aamir Khan said he thought Ghajini, a thriller based on the 2000 Hollywood film Memento, worked because it appealed to both the domestic and the increasingly lucrative audience of Indians living abroad.

He also revealed that he aims to work on a new version of the Hindu epic "Mahabharata," eyeing the role of Lord Krishna.

On "Ghajini," trade analyst Komal Nahta said the novelty factor was a big help, adding: "It is happy times again after the recession in Bollywood."

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