The year of big numbers

Published On: 2012-09-23

Author: unknown

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The year of big numbers

Source: Financial Express 
Date: 28 January, 2006

Bollywood has close to Rs 500 crore tied up in releases this year 

Everyone needs the odd miracle. Even the Hindi film industry (which earned Rs 350 crore in 2005). Year 2006 began on a damp note with the much hyped Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Family crashlanding at the ticket windows. Traditionally, January has always been an inauspicious month for Bollywood, seldom registering hits (the lone exception being in 2005, when Black and Page 3 turned out to be major money spinners), but the year promises to be action packed with as much as Rs 500 crore tied up in various projects. 

After kicking up major controversies, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Rang De Basanti hit the screens on R-Day. Made on a budget of Rs 25 crore, the film is expected to be one of the major moneymakers this year, according to trade experts. Zinda, of course, (budget: Rs 15 crore) can safely be tagged as the ‘first hit’ of the year. 

Top guns return 

Unlike 2005, which saw a lot of fresh blood in the studios, 2006 is the year of the big players. Everyone from Karan Johar, Farhan Akhtar, Vidhu Vinod Chopra to Rakesh Roshan and Sooraj Barjatya who were hitherto taking two-year/three-year sabbaticals to recharge their batteries are back with a vengeance, each of them with a potential blockbuster tucked up their sleeves. Johar’s Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (Rs 50-60 crore) expected to be a Diwali release has a dream cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Preity Zinta and Rani Mukherji. “I can never cut costs while making a film. The end product has to look good.” But with bankable stars and a tight script, Johar seems to be on safe ground. Barjatya has signed up Shahid Kapur and Amrita Rao for a family drama, Shaadi, a genre that he is comfortable with. Roshan senior has painstakingly crafted action-packed Krish (estimated budget Rs 50 crore), which is “a film about a super hero, that will appeal to families,” says Roshan. 

Year of sequels 

In India, the trend of creating sequels is novel, but gaining in popularity by the looks of it. So Raj Kumar Hirani dishes out the second installment of his 2004 laugh riot, Munnabhai Meets Mahatma with Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi and Vidya Balan (budget: Rs 15 crore). Sanjay Gadhvi returns with Dhoom 2 (budget Rs 20 crore) roping in Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan in negative roles along with Uday Chopra and Abhishek Bachchan from the first film. Priyadarshan makes Phir Hera Pheri (Akshay Kumar, Sunil Shetty and Paresh Rawal). Ekta Kapoor repeats the entire cast of Kya Kool Hai Hum for its sequel. Rakesh Roshan directs son Hrithik in Krish — the sequel to Koi Mil Gaya. Ram Gopal Varma is making Darna Zaroori Hai — a sequel to 2003’s Darna Mana Hai. “Abroad sequels have been made very successfully. With the right packaging, sequels should do well here too,” feels Priyadarshan. 

Time for history 

Bollywood sets a date with history this year. Undaunted by Taj Mahal’s (the 2005 historical made by Akbar Khan) colossal failure, our desi dream merchants are mounting reel historicals on a lavish scale. Ashutosh Gowarikar’s doing Akbar-Jodha (budget Rs 50 crore) with Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai. J P Dutta’s Umrao Jaan stars Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan. Chandra Prakash Dwivedi’s Prithviraaj Samyukta has Sunny Deol and Priyanka Chopra (budget Rs 40 crore). Dutta admits, “Besides, getting your facts right, it’s vital to mount historicals well and cast stars who look convincing in the get up. Plus, the film needs to look contemporary.”” 

Remakes galore 

As if stealing (sorry, being ‘inspired’) Hollywood ideas/films wasn’t enough, now mainstream filmmakers have chosen another well-tread path: remaking old classics. Ever since maverick filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma announced his ambitious plans of making Sholay with Amitabh Bachchan and Mohit Ahlawat in 2006, Farhan Akhtar too made it official. Shah Rukh Khan’s doing Don. Now it's Deepa Mehta’s turn to make Saheb Biwi Aur Ghulam with Priyanka Chopra as chhoti bahu, with the rest of the cast being finalised. And Varma is remaking his 1992 hit Shiva with Mohit Ahlawat. Will the audience feel cheated? After all the DVDs are readily available. “It’s nice to see a new version of Don or Sholay. Classics can be remade if they are handled sensitively and the cast is suitable. The downside is people will compare it with the old film, but then that’s an occupational hazard. It has happened many times in our film industry. Devdas has been made many times over and each version has been well-loved,” says Akhtar. 

But will the year bring in the big bucks? “This should be a very good year, you have big films lined up for release. So, it can be safely said that the industry should make at least Rs 350-400 crore in profits,” feels trade analyst Komal Nahta. We know for sure that filmmakers, exhibitors and distributors will be crossing their fingers on that one.