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Bollywood 2013 - Curtains Down!

 

Monojit Lahiri tracks B-town’s hits & misses, tops n’ flops … and a little in-between!
MONOJIT LAHIRI | New Delhi, January 17, 2014 12:56
Tags : SRK |Chennai Express |Ek Tha Tiger |Salman Khan |Jai Ho |John Abraham | Hrithik Roshan |
 
Since entertainment in India is really restricted to the movies, which essentially translates to Bollywood, which in turn actually means stars, let’s straightaway cut to the chase and start with the 3 biggest show-stoppers – the killer Khans!
After his big, ambitious Jab Tak… [of last year] failed to cause the usual hungama, SRK went for his next release with tongs n’ hammers … and boy, did it pay off!His Chennai Express, co-starring ‘find’ Dippy and directed by the Ajay Devgun-fixated Rohit Shetty offered a sexy blend of trademark style and chutzpah associated with King Khan and over-the-top, loud madness connected with Shetty, to break & create new records!
 
It stormed the BO becoming the biggest box-office hit ever, registering a global return of Rs.420 crores plus and an opening day scoop of Rs.33 crores plus sliding past frenemy Salman’s [previous record] Rs.32 crore for Ek Tha Tiger!Hottie Salman Khan had no releases, worked silently on his 2014 ambitious project Jai Ho, charmed his fans by his antics as host in the TV Reality show Big Boss and made a sensational appearance on Koffee with Karan, but it was the pocket-sized dynamite Aamir Khan who delivered a thundering knock-out!Making a real late appearance – late December – Mr. Perfectionist, lived up [once again] to his reputation of blasting home surprises through mega hits.
 
Following in the heels of the hot John Abraham & Hrithik Roshan as a sexy villain, Aamir really socked home a powerhouse performance in Dhoom 3 giving the franchise an entry into the record books!It raced past SRK’s Chennai Express opening days take to register a staggering Rs.36 crore plus & trade – both shaken & stirred – were busy swearing that the YRF project [said to be the most expensive ever at a budget of Rs.150 crores] could well pass the Rs.500 crore mark!! Splashed across 4000 screens and aggressively promoted, Dhoom 3 could be the new benchmark to measure up to.Oh, like Salman he - along with wife – debuted on Karan’s show!The Roshans too struck big with their Krisshh 3, returning Greek-god Hrithik to top slot among the big boys.
 
Debonair Ranbir Kapoor scored a bull’s eye too with the fabulous Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani, zooming him right up with the hotties in the pecking order.Ranveer Kapoor also struck with a powerful performance in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Goliyon Ki Ras Leela, Ram Leela, an extravagant, opulent, colourful re-telling of the age-old Romeo-Juliet romance shifted from Verona to Gujarat!Other charming & delightful successes included the inspirational biopic Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, the romance-dripping, song-filled Ashiqui 2, the stalker-as-lover Raanjhana, a smart, cool portrayal of fraudster-giri Special 26, the glam, star-filled, slick, sexy Race 2 and not forgetting the populist, sadak-chhaap Grand Masti catering to the [nudge-wink] front-benchers and those looking for cheap thrills.Takes all sorts to make the world, dude!Here its appropriate to echo Shekhar Kapur’s retort to the age-old question when will Bollywood truly go international?“When we stop celebrating mediocrity!”
 
In the Heroine department, there was only one name that overwhelmingly swept everything in sight – Deepika Padukone!Starring in four Rs.100 crore plus starrers, the young leggy beauty categorically demonstrated what discipline, application & focus can do.Despite all these roles being worlds apart – YJHD, Chennai Express, Race 2, Ram Leela – she invested in each her special brand of magic to emerge Brand Icon, Style Goddess, Fashion Queen – the undisputed Star of 2013! Returning to her mentor, Director Farah Khan to do Happy Birthday with SRK in year 2014, this girl is clearly the one to watch.Comparatively the other established babes didn’t do anything really sensational.Priyanka did a nice hot item jig in Ram Leela but hardly anything else worth remembering.Kareena bombed big with Gori tere … and Katrina, looked stunning but had little to do in Dhoom 3, Vidya, Anushka, Bipasha hardly featured.Oh, Parineeti – as usual – was superb in Shudh Desi Romance, but the film was small, so it possibly went unnoticed.
 
There were king-sized duds too. Brash motor-mouth Sajid Khan – who boasted that his 2013 remake of the 1983 Jeetu-Sridevi starrer Himmatwala will have audiences go crazy – had to eat crow.Very few mustered up the himmat to see the nightmare! Action-star Akshay Kumar [who displayed fine form in Special 26] found his big budget Bossgo for a solid toss along with Once upon a time … while poor Imraan Khan’s Matru ki Bijlee – a Vishal Bharadwaj initiative – bit dust & remained there! Gori Tere Pyar Mein with the luminous Bebo as co-star also had to be peeled off the ceiling!Two other major disappointments were Besharam & Bullet Raja.Despite heavy-duty promotion & cool track record of their directors, both flattered to deceive.The first bombed because it – wrongly – positioned Ranbir-as-Salman wooing the smaller metro markets and hoping to do a Dabangg again.The second one flopped because Saif is too cool & sophisticated to pull off a typically desi persona as Bullet Raja … and yes, every film can’t be Omkara, okay?
 
There were some very interesting side-shows too, which, for lovers of quality cinema who believe in content calling the shots, was heartening.It indicated that a definite shift was taking place among the movers n’ shakers & decision makers running the business.How else would/can one describe the appearance & modest success of several small-budget, non-formulaic, non-star films that lit up the theatres – and audience lives – across 2013?Be it Kai Po Che, Jolly LLB, Bombay Talkies, Fukrey, Lootera, Lootera, Madras Café, Shahid – and most specifically the hugely acclaimed Lunchbox & Ship of Theseus … they all attracted discriminating & niche audiences and signaled, very simply, that all was not lost and indeed there was life beyond Chennai Express & Dhoom 3!Sure, there were loads of crap too but that comes with the territory.
 
Music – a critical ingredient of Bollywood movies – too joined the party with a host of new voices.Critics believe that year 2013 threw up fresh talent as never before in the history of the business! Arijit Singh & Bhoomi Trivedi seemed to stand out and Honey Singh wasn’t too far behind.Arijit’s Tum Hi Ho of [Ashiqui 2] was considered a true anthem & chartbuster as was Honey Singh’s Lungi Dance & Party All from Chennai Express & Boss respectively.For the record, eight of the top ten songs of the year were sung by new singers [Benny Dayal, Shefali Alvares, Hamsika Iyer, Shiraz Uppal, Jaswinder Singh, Ankit Tiwari, Shalmali Kholgade].Music directors & lyricists – infected by the bimari – also turned singers with Swanand Kirkire & Amitabh Bhattacharya exercising their vocal chords!Singer Sonu Nigam[as a reaction?!]backed off to turn music director.Keeping him company was Sanjay Leela Bhansali who composed the [fabulous] music of Ram-Leela!Yup, after super duds Sawariya & Guzarish the vintage [Devdas, Black, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam] Bhansali is back with a bang with his raunchy & erotic latest film reportedly zooming past the Rs.200 crore mark!In an industry which worships success – not talent – his sleeping mobile phone, surely, must have a tough time coping with the new blitz!
 
Oh, a word about an amazingly weird film from – for lovers of history- Kaizad Gustad, the guy who made the bizarre Boom a decade ago which introduced Katrina Kaif and sank without a trace. He strikes again!This one has the ambitious name called Jackpot!Two things.Did the bloke really believe he’d hit the JP because he had the luscious porn-star Sunny Leone, along with Sachin Joshi & Naseer Shah? More importantly, will the stupendously talented Shah get real, stop cribbing how fake the wonderful biopic Bhaag Milkha Bhaag was & review his own career and the colossal crap that he continues to engage with?! How long will he act in vague, non-star products that no one sees offering neither style, nor substance? Such a pity!
 
Before we get into the absorbing side-effects, a flash on the crazy satellite wars & price battles regarding the mega-hits.If reports are to b believed, Colours & Sony TV channels are fighting it out for rights of the biggest hit of the year.At Rs.65 crore, Dhoom 3 has certainly dhoom-machaoed, again big time! Chennai Express too went for Rs.40 crores to Zee Network, Dabangg 2, for Rs.44 crores to Star Network, while Krish 3 went for Rs.38 crore to Set Max.Salman Khan’s 2014 Jai Ho has been sold for a crazy price to a channel, both under wraps.Confusion really is getting confounded!
 
Everything considered, 2013 was a good year.While an unprecedented ten movies hit/crossed the Rs.100 crore mark, several small-budget non-star, unconventional films with engaging subjects, fresh treatment & superb performances by gifted actors did win both critical & box-office success, once again re-affirming the dramatic & positive change the Multiplex phenomenon brought about in the selection & viewing of diverse movies.It also addressed two critical questions:Does the making of films – a collaborative activity – allow self-expression?Can a director, as the conductor of the orchestra of writers, actors & technicians stamp his personal vision on the film? Alongside it proved [in keeping with AAP] that the huge minority audiences in every part of the country is alive & kicking and waiting for content-driven fare, ready to patronize these films religiously with passion & purpose, to make both this genre and this critical constituency count.Bravo – more wind beneath its wings.
And so on to 2014!
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017