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Summer box-office hits a high, despite lows
Priyanka Khanna, IANS Sep 12  [ Sun, Sep 12, 2004 ]
           
  • New Delhi, Sep 12 (IANS): In a fading summer when many of Bollywood's biggest bets failed to pay off, it was familiarity in the form of seasoned star Salman Khan and carnal titilations that resonated with movie audiences.

    The box-office success of Yash Raj Films "Dhoom" on the heels of smashing hits like "Main Hoon Na", "Murder", "Masti", "Mujhse Shaadi Karogi" and "Hum Tum" saved the summer of 2004 from becoming a one of discontent for Bollywood.

    The John Abraham-Abhishek Bachchan-Uday Chopra-Isha Deol and Reema Sen starrer "Dhoom" became a hit in less than 100 days after Rani Mukherjee-Saif Ali Khan-romantic caper "Hum Tum" from the same illustrious production house floored cine goers.

    Sleek bikes and action stunts made the film a must watch for college-goers, giving it a bumper opening all over India - and it has sustained audience interest. Its success has helped distributors quickly recover from the debacle of the much-hyped Kareen Kapoor-Shahid Kapoor-Fardeen Khan-starrer "Fida", which was a washout in the second week after its release.

    The success of Kunal Kohli's "Hum Tum", which was propped up by a highly innovative marketing campaign, brought a mixed bag of fortunes for its stars.

    Post the success of the film, Rani Mukherjee is riding high with reports that she will work with internationally acclaimed director Mira Nair, but Saif Ali Khan's personal life has plummeted with the reported estrangement from his wife.

    Thrillers of the supernatural kind have been given a royal ditch by viewers which the latest victim being the multi-starrer "Rakht". No amount of item numbers could save this film by liquor baron Vijaya Mallaya that got a lukewarm opening.

    Ditto for last week's other - "Hum Kaun Hai" - which was a rip-off of Nicole Kidman's "The Others" and failed even to get a decent opening in spite of the presence of Dimple Kapadia, Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra.

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    Enthused by Mallika Sherawat's no-holds-barred attitude, a slew of skin flicks tried to titilate audiences with varying degrees of success. "Hawas", "Tum" and "Girlfriend" got mixed results.

    The men tried to better women by donning khakhi, but a dozen cop films petered out.

    Only Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar were the last men standing among duds that included "Bardaasht", "Aan", "Police Force", "Khakee" and "Deewar".

    Salman's lovable act in "Muhjse Shaadi Karogi" as he tried to woo Priyanka Chopra from Akshay Kumar got a bumper opening for his cop act in "Garv". The masculine film, however, could not sustain viewers interest, making this genre a touch me not.

    -*-

    "Dil Ne Jise Apna Kaha" could well tilt the balance in favour of those who believe that audiences like to watch muscleman Salman Khan in gooey-eyed, soft romantic roles rather than as a punching machine.

    The film, by Salman's brother-in-law Atull Agnihotri, casts him as the grieving husband of Preity Zinta who dies in an accident. Instead of chasing women the actor tries to shrug the advances of Bhumika Chawla, who is head over heels in love with him because she received Preity's heart in a transplant.

    Critics have found the film too packed with emotions but the real jury, as is in all Salman films, is the box-office.

    If "Dil Ne Jise Apna Kaha" manages to rake in the moolah, this summer could well end on a very happy note for Salman and Bollywood.

    -*-

    The Big B made a particularly huge number of special appearances in ordinary films this year.

    There were two films in January and three in June but the result was not much better though.

    Amitabh's cameo in Farhan Akhtar's labour of love "Lakshya" was well done though unfortunately the film was a box-office dud, while Milan Luthria's "Deewaar" left many audiences feeling cheated.

    His act in the puerile "Kyun Ho Gaya Na", which starred Aishwarya Rai and Vivek Oberoi, will hopefully be the last time audiences see the actor wasted.

    Only Rajkumar Santoshi's "Khakee" and Govind Nilhani's "Dev" did justice to him but did not excite viewers.

    The junior Bachchan's search for elusive glory continued in the first half of this year with two more flops before "Dhoom" became an unexpected big grosser. He has consolidated his position as an actor with Mani Ratnam's "Yuva" and just released Revathy's sensitive film on HIV/AIDS "Phir Milenge."

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    Though "Yuva" and "Phir Milenge" were critically acclaimed, they were snubbed at the turnstiles and brought to light the dichotomy facing the cinema churned out of Mumbai-based studios. Even as the industry acknowledges that it needs to break fresh ground, its messages to those who dare to depart is that you do so at your own peril, say trade observers.

    Among the notable releases this year, Mani Ratnam's "Yuva", Govind Nihalani's "Dev", Vishal Bhardwaj's "Maqbool", Sriram Raghavan's "Ek Hasina Thi" and Shimit Amin's "Ab Tak Chappan" could have pushed the envelop but were not seen by many.


           



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