Special Feature by Manish Gajjar, Hindi Film Adviser for Vue Cinema
A DISMAL 2009 saw an economic downturn and a long drawn Bollywood strike over film rental charges affecting box office takings.
Even 2010 showed no signs of recovery for the film industry with a lacklustre year of releases.
Big budget films like Raavan (*£231,497) starring Abhishek and Aishwarya Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan’s cross-cultural Kites (£571,913), and Salman Khan’s period epic Veer (£292,979) opened in UK cinemas on below expectations.
Karan Johar’s My Name Is Khan was the only film reaching up to the 3 million mark breaking box office records and becoming the highest grossing Bollywood film in the UK.
As predicted, Akshay Kumar’s laugh-riot, Housefull did good business grossing £676,596.
With an abysmal summer of releases, Imran Khan’s medium budget romantic comedy, I Hate Luv Storys turned out to be the surprise package this year grossing an amazing £520,642
But the latter part of 2010 saw successful films like Kajol – Kareena tear jerking drama, We Are Family grossing £709,165, Eid blockbuster action thriller Dabanng (£785,178) and the Diwali comic multi- starrer Golmaal 3 (£621,155). But Bhansali’s latest masterpiece, Guzaarish did not have many takers with the film grossing a miserly £348,789
Producers in Mumbai are still cautious due to the ongoing global recession. So for a guaranteed good box office return expect 2011 to be a year of sequels.
Five blockbuster instalments are currently in production. Directors Abbas-Mustan are all set to release their action thriller sequel Race 2 exploring betrayal, passion and sibling rivalry starring Anil Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Akshaye Khanna and Katrina Kaif in lead roles.
Comic caper Partner 2 is in production with the sequel retaining its original cast of Govinda, Salman Khan, Katrina and Lara Dutta released in 2007.
Producer Boney Kapoor is planning to release the next chapter from his action thriller, Wanted. Dabanng star Salman Khan will once again star alongside Ayesha Takia and directed by Prabhu Deva.
Dhoom lovers can expect a 3rd episode from this all out action flick series to be directed by Aditya Chopra with a few alterations from the original star cast.
King Khan is back in top form in the crime thriller Don 2: The Chase Continues.
Directed by Farhan Aktar, the lead roles also reprise Priyanka Chopra, Boman Irani and Om Puri from Don (2006), with an addition of Lara Dutta and Kunal Kapoor to the original cast.
Khan will also star in Bollywood’s most ambitious sci-fi superhero film, RA.ONE about a Miami-based software engineer who manages to freeze electricity in order to conquer the evil force Ra 1. Co-produced by Khan, the film’s background score is composed by Pirates Of The Caribbean series and The Da Vinci Code musical director, Hans Zimmer.
Meanwhile, Farhan Aktar will star alongside Guzaarish star Hrithik Roshan in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, a fun-filled road flick shot across Spain about three friends coming to terms with life, being directed by Farhan’s sister, Zoya Aktar of the Luck By Chance (2009) fame.
Based on the controversial Jessica Lal murder case, No One Killed Jessica is a political thriller starring Rani Mukerjee as a feisty investigative reporter and Vidya Balan as Jessica’s sister. The film sees the accused being acquitted by the courts leading to nationwide protests for a re-trial.
Veteran star Dharmendra makes a comeback alongside sons Sunny and Bobby Deol in Yamla Pagla Deewana, a crazy colourful ‘masala’ flick about the escapades of two happy-go-lucky con-artists whose notorious life creates mayhem and mistaken identities.
Aamir Khan produces and stars alongside Pratiek Barbar in the social drama Dhobi Ghat. Using live action cameras in the crowded Mumbai metropolis it focuses on four people separated by class and language barriers drawn together in compelling relationships.
Ajay Devgan, Emraan Hashmi, and Omi Vaidya star in Dil To Bachcha Hai, a slice of life comedy about three men and their encounters with love taking a light-hearted look at the highs and lows of relationships.
Set in Southall, Patiala House sees Akshay Kumar playing a Sikh pace bowler who dreams of playing for England in this cricket orientated movie also starring Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia and Anushka Sharma.
Kumar will also be seen in the romantic drama, Thank You with Sonam Kapoor playing a tennis champion who falls in love with the wrong guy but realises her mistake before it’s too late.
Director of meaningful films like Kaminey and Omkara, Vishal Bhardwaj comes up with a black comedy thriller, Saat Khoon Maaf, based on a female serial killer played by Priyanka Chopra who murders her victim after each marriage. Also stars Naseeruddin Shah, Neil Nitin Mukesh, John Abraham, Irrfan Khan and Konkona Sen Sharma.
On a slightly light hearted note audiences can look forward to Abhishek Bachchan and Kangana Ranaut in Dum Maro Dum, an edgy dramatic thriller racing through the by-lanes, beach shacks of India’s largest tourist destination, Goa where drug usage is most prevalent.
Both stars will also be seen in Game, a slick edge-of-the-seat whodunit whose dialogues been written by Farhan Akhtar.
Bollywood’s much talked about couple, Saif Ali Khan will play a super spy and Kareena Kapoor stars as a Pakistani CIA agent in the James Bond style action thriller, Agent Vinod.
Ranbir Kapoor of Wake Up Sid and Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani fame will make his mark once again in Rockstar, about a small time boy who becomes a world famous rock star. The film’s music has been composed by Oscar winner A.R.Rahman.
Film production in 2011 is all set to look bigger and better with the industry experimenting with diverse genre to drive audiences into cinemas!
Manish Gajjar is one of the UK’s leading Bollywood authorities working as a Hindi film adviser for VUE cinemas in the UK.
*Box office figures courtesy of Rentrak Corporation