ZIYA US SALAM
The first half of the year saw a string of half baked dramas, critically acclaimed unseen sagas and a handful of films that made money.
In an industry which equates success with commercial reaping, it is quite strange that the first half of the year has had more than a handful of films winning critical acclaim, and only a few making the cash registers ring at the box office. On the one hand, there have been films like Black & White, Subhash Ghai’s attempt to get serious with a crossover film about a guy forced to take to arms post-Gujarat 2002. Or for that matter, the more recent Aamir which again talked of the tendency to taint the Muslim community with the same brush: here the victim was the accused too. On more or less the same lines a little earlier came Samar Khan’s Shaurya, an Indian adaptation of A Few Good Men that got the critics raving. Much like Mithya.
Unfortunately, despite good reviews and favourable word of mouth publicity none of these films can actually be reckoned to be a blockbuster, a term reserved for otherwise masala entertainers like Race and Jannat.
The former had a prolonged skin show, the latter capitalised on the cricket fever in the country during IPL. Both reaped dividends at the box office, as indeed did Jodhaa-Akbar that performed creditably in some pockets, and only average in many others. Similar was the fate of Sarkar Raj, people across the country dismissed the film but it collected more in Maharashtra and South than the original.
More like the snakes and ladders that we witness every year? Yes, but more snakes than ladders at the box office so far. The year has had more than its share of duds, films which were technically poor, moth-eaten, and commercially disastrous. Here is a recap of the flop show:
U, ME AUR HUM
Ajay Devgan joined hands with wife Kajol to spring a tale of an Alzheimer’s patient. The audiences forgot to queue up at the turnstiles, and the Devgan couple was left ruminating ‘you, me aur hum’.
The year got off to a traditional inauspicious start with Raj Kumar Santoshi’s loose take on Safdar Hashmi biting the dust at the box office. Not even the presence of Ajay Devgan could get an initial and the masses failed to understand what the fuss was all about Halla Bol?
Mithun Chakraborty’s son Mimoh made his debut with this belated release. He tried everything which made Papa Dear success a darling of the masses. The only problem was nobody was watching. And the cliché-ridden film went back unseen, unsung.
BOMBAY TO BANGKOK
Nagesh Kukunoor’s attempt to go ribald went kaput. This story of a chef from Bombay to Bangkok went nowhere. And Kukunoor, hopefully, realised his limitations.
The very fact that the film finds a mention here is probably more than it deserves. Starring Yuktaa Mookhey trying desperately to prove that height is no deterrent in commercial cinema, the film was replete with the stereotypes we thought we had left behind. And to think this utter disaster was based on the anti-Sikh riots of Delhi! Noble intent, ignoble content.
Yash Raj Films’ date with mortality, Tashan proved that resources are no guarantee of quality cinema as director Vijay Krishna Acharya goofed up big time with a star cast that included Akshay Kumar, Saif Ali Khan, Anil Kapoor and slim line Kareena Kapoor. Easily the biggest disappointment this year.
RAMA RAMA KYA HAI DRAMA
This confused comedy failed to raise any laughs at the box office, only proving that there is only as much comedians like Rajpal Yadav can do. And actresses like Neha Dhupia can only dish out certain kind of appeal. With all its numerology-inspired name, this was a drama even Rama could not save.
Anupam and Kirron Kher’s son Sikander made his debut with this tautly made film. The only problem was there was not much support for the debutant, and at a little less than 90 minutes, some traditional cinemagoers felt cheated. Too small, too quick. Sikander’s second outing with Summer 2007 was similarly more talked about than seen.
Ah! There were others, films which were released at the box office, and as immediately got a release from it. Names like Mr Black Mr White, One Two Three, Sirf, Pranali, Don Muthuswamy, Haal-e-Dil, Hastey-Hastey, Thodi Life Thoda Magic… come to mind. Then there were others like Bhram, Dasavatar, Krazzy-4, Mere Baap Pehle Aap…. Yawn.