Bollywood offers one more cops film
The excessive stress on the colour khaki has already begun to take its toll on the Bollywood box office.
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
Last week's release "Police Force" died without a whimper, leaving many questions unanswered. Are the audiences satiated with cops' films?
After all the year started with the big-budgeted cops epic "Khakee". Further down there were leading men, from Dino Morea in "Insaaf" and John Abraham in "Paap" to Nana Patekar and that very fine discovery Nakul Vaid in "Ab Tak Chappan", playing cops with or without uniforms.
Coming up now is "Aan".
"Akshay Kumar is a cop without a uniform in 'Police Force'. The trouble is, he's a cop without a uniform in my film 'Aan' which opens this Friday," says producer Feroz Nadiadwala.
Would "Aan" suffer a frightful fate at the box office because of "Police Force"? Akshay Kumar, who stars in both, is pretty confident about "Aan". And so is his producer Nadiadwala.
Close friends in real life, Nadiadwala and Akshay have earlier worked together in the hit comedy "Hera Pheri", directed by Priyadarshan, and are now collaborating on its sequel "Phir Hera Pheri". Their last comic outing "Awaara Paagal Deewana", directed by Vikram Bhatt, was also a hit.
Most trade watchers consider the Nadiadwala-Akshay combination to be safe for the box office. Suniel Shetty and Paresh Rawal who starred in "Hera Pheri" and "Awaara Paagal Deewana" are also part of the "Aan" cast, though this time everyone is more in a grim than a grin mood.
Tense and taut, "Aan" is the "Chandni Bar" and "Satta" director Madhur Bhandarkar's first foray into big mainstream movie-making. Apparently Bhandarkar wasn't very comfortable with his producer's attempts to beautify what was originally a grave and gritty cops film.
While Nadiadwala filmed his trademark glamorous song sequences with his favourite hero, Bhandarkar quietly withdrew into a corner to make another realistic film, "Page 3".
Bhandarkar, however, vehemently denies this rumour. "Of course, I was part of 'Aan' right from the word go to the word gone...It's my baby! How could I abandon it? As the producer, Feroz had every right to think about what's best for his film."
"Aan" had its share of casting hiccups before it started shooting. Amitabh Bachchan was supposed to play the role that Shatrughan Sinha finally played. When Bhandarkar had a run-in with Bachchan's close friend Amar Singh, Bachchan opted out of the movie, making way for Sinha who hasn't been seen on screen for some years.
Bhandarkar's favourite actress Tabu also opted out, making way for Raveena Tandon who, for a change, has no romantic lead to fall back on.
"Aan" does seem to offer a whole lot of incentives to the audience.
The glamour quotient - Raveena, Lara Dutta plus a bevy of dancing beauties from all over the world - is very high. And so is the muscle power with the leading men, from the stylised Shatrughan Sinha to the methodical Paresh Rawal, lending a rich versatility and ruggedness to the tale.
Will "Aan" work at the box office? It has exactly a week to consolidate its position because on June 11, Bachchan and Om Puri take over the turnstiles to play cops in Govind Nihalani's eagerly awaited "Dev" and two weeks thereafter, it's Salman Khan's turn to don khaki - for the first time - in "Garv".