Jan 2, 2009

Entertainment - Bollywood;A jolly good show

Ziya Us Salam

With a number of hits and super hits, and only a clutch of films hitting the pits, Hindi movies raked in the moolah in the year just gone by.

No year is without drama. And the film trade by its nature is one unending saga. The year gone by was no different. Big stars ruled: Akshay Kumar raked it rich, Aamir Khan was suave as ever, Shah Rukh Khan boastful as only he can afford to be. The controversies simmered: it started with ‘Jodhaa-Akbar’ and details of history, it continued till the end with ‘Ghajini’ and the court case. Some films were expected to do well but didn’t: films like ‘Halla Bol,’ ‘Tashan,’ ‘Sarkar Raaj,’ ‘Bachna Ae Haseeno’… Others like ‘A Wednesday’ and ‘Aamir’ surprised with their good run. Then came the usual good moments. Here’s a look back at those which worked at the box office:


Emraan Hashmi could not attract a fly, leave alone get fans at the box office. Life was hell. Then came ‘Jannat’ and he started smiling. Such was the surprise at this little hit. Cricket, match fixing, romance, thrills, music…this Bhatt camp film packed it all to good effect.


The critics panned it. Historians raised pertinent questions about its authenticity. For a while, surprisingly fearful producers squirmed. Then more surprisingly, they showed some resilience and the film silenced many with its Hirithik Roshan-Aishwarya Rai take on a Moghul romance.


This was Abbas-Mustan in familiar territory: girls, guns, machines and speed. All combining to give a masala entertainer with the likes of Saif Ali Khan, Anil Kapoor – yeah, he refuses to fade away – and Akshaye Khanna. Of course, Katrina Kaif and Bipasha helped. As did the music.


This was a new colt thing. With Uncle Aamir watching from the sidelines, young Imran Khan announced his arrival as a chocolate boy for Gen Next. A campus romance, the film raked it rich at the box office, leaving Abbas Tyrewala with an enviable opener for a director.


Was it director Neeraj Pandey’s film? Or was it simply vintage Naseeruddin Shah at work? Either way, this low-key film worked at the box office with its tale of common man’s frustration at the system’s inadequacy. Some squirmed at the uncalled for parallel between religion and terror though.


A little over half a decade ago he made it as a director with ‘Dil Chahta Hai.’ But 2008 was a breakthrough year for Farhan Akhtar the actor. He carried ‘Rock On’ on his shoulders. Of course, Arjun Rampal’s polished looks helped. The multiplex crowd roared in approval.


The purists’ ill concealed distaste for melodrama notwithstanding, this Akshay Kumar film had a roaring opening, with the North Indian crowd specially finding his exchanges with the fair doll Katrina Kaif hilarious. And a little bout with Sonu Sood enthusing. It crowned Kumar as Masala King.


It opened sufficiently well not to need a long run. But even before the release the Karan Johar film had been talked about for projecting mainstream stars Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham as gays! The society’s changing mindset ensured the people had a smile, not a frown on their face.


Got a good thing? Keep it going. That was the magic mantra of director Rohit Shetty as he sought to capitalise on the success of the first film with this sequel. Again the masses and the classes could not see eye to eye. The former loved it, the latter panned it, but did not watch it!


Aditya Chopra came back after ages. Shah Rukh looked aged too. Newcomers Anushka was passable but not a stunner! The music was okay but a couple of tracks did just fine. As did Shah Rukh’s charisma. The film kept SRK smiling in the battle of the Khans also starring Aamir and Salman.


If the colt had impressed with Jaane Tu… the old war horse continued to be unfailingly successful. Around this time, Aamir had the connoisseurs happy with ‘Taare Zameen Par.’ This past December, he had the masses queuing up for ‘Ghajini’ that also introduced Asin to Hindi filmgoers.


Even if the box office lived up to its reputation of being a no sanctuary for any bird, films like ‘Aamir,’ ‘Mithya,’ ‘Tahaan,’ ‘Dasvidaniya,’ not to forget ‘Mukhbir’ did well enough to attract some attention.

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