What lies ahead in Bollywood?
Priyanka Khanna, May 22 [ Sun, May 22, 2005 ]
'Black' and 'Page 3' had big success
- New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) Almost halfway into the year 2005 and the Hindi-film industry is feeling triumphant. Without much effort on its part, Bollywood has managed to convey its willingness to experiment and take chances.
Riding largely on the shoulders of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Black" and Madhur Bhandarkar's commercially successful "Page 3", the industry has got good press for finally breaking the mould.
Call these new genre films what you want - arty, parallel, new cinema, crossover, multiplex films or meaningful cinema - many have hogged the limelight in the first half of 2005.
And in the garb of so-called different cinema, a slew of mediocre-to-terrible releases have made their way to the marquees and some managed to stay afloat. The one genre that did not work at all were conventional biggies that consistently performed badly.
But from all the films churned out by Indian production houses, none could be termed as world-class cinema.
This was more than evident from the fact that yet again no Indian film featured in the competition category of the prestigious 2005 Cannes Film Festival that concluded May 22.
Though Indian cinema was well represented at the prestigious festival by female actors Aishwarya Rai, Nandita Das and Mallika Sherawat, all the global attention did not convert into critical acclaim.
The only Indian film to have made the grade in any category at the festival was Satyajit Ray's "Pather Panchali", which was selected under the Cannes Classic section to commemorate the 50th year of the film by legend Satyajit Ray.
Interestingly, this week also marked the completion of 500 weeks showing of 1990s-hit "Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge".
Both films represent two dramatically opposite genre in films.
Though packaged varyingly, the common thread running through most films hitting the silver screen this year is - sex.
Whether it is the latest box-office hit "Kya Kool Hai Hum" or the latest spine-chiller "Nazar", a generous flash of skin is seen as a sure card to box-office gains.
The trend kicked-off by films like "Jism", "Khwahish" and "Murder" has no dearth of takers though many "sexplicit" films this year flopped badly. Take "Rog", "Sheesha" "Fun... Can Be Dangerous Sometimes" and "Dreams" for example.
The other constant genre continues to be the big-budget multi-starrers. Though the likes of Subhash Ghai tried but failed with his big production "Kisna", most other veteran filmmakers preferred to stick to the beaten track.
Continued on next page...
"Bewafaa", a multi-starrer with Akshaye Kumar, Anil Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor failed to save face. Ditto for Akshaye's other big budget release "Waqt" in which he shared the screen with Amitabh Bachchan.
One exception was Salman Khan's "Lucky" that was mounted on a big scale. The debut of Salman's ex-flame Aishwarya Rai's look alike - Sneha Ullal - lived up to its name.
"Lucky" did well on account of Salman's mass appeal, great music and locale. Another film that benefited from star appeal and overall packaging was the superstar Shah Rukh Khan and celebrated director Karan Johar-backed film - "Kaal".
However, none come close to the star appeal of Tamil superstar Rajnikanth, who is a screen icon for Tamil-speaking audiences. "Chandramukhi", his latest film, is likely to gross a colossal $10 million, a record of sorts.
On the whole, the failure of big-budget Hindi films to click at the box-office has the Mumbai studio-based industry weary and the next six months are crucial for business. After having got some amount of critical acclaim, financial relief will be of prime concern in the months ahead for Bollywood.