Bollywood kicks-off 2007 in style
Phew! The year 2007 has certainly got off to an eventful start for the glitzy Hindi film industry.
To start with, the most eligible bachelor in tinsel town got hitched with the most beautiful woman in the world, a fading starlet turned into a household name in Britain overnight, a US comedy show took pot-shots on Indian actors, Bollywood's biggest superstar donned the mantel of a TV host, and most importantly the cash registers kept ringing.
For all the above reasons and many others, the Mumbai studio-based Hindi filmdom made it to front pages, internationally and nationally, more often than it ever had in the past. It even got a mention in the House of Commons.
A trend that confirms the so-called 'Page 3' soft news has established a foothold in the front page.
'The demarcation of froth from hard news is blurring. Chronicles of cocktail parties and gossip from the world of glitterati are now driving TRPs and readerships, and is set to emerge a lot stronger in the coming days,' says media watcher Prasanth Kumar.
'What started out as an interest area for the minority has emerged into a big preoccupation with the majority. The growing fascination with the Page 3 cult reflects an aspirational Indian society, where the party scene and social relationships are paramount,' he adds.
The theory, perhaps, remains stuck to the good-old saying, there's no biz like showbiz. And of late, Hindi cinema has been coming up with enough dough to lay claim as the business to be in.
Bollywood witnessed a windfall of good fortune last year, with movies raking in the moolah both at home and overseas. In 2006, films like 'Krrish' and 'Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna' got as much as Rs.320 million (over $7.2 million) from the overseas market and 'Dhoom:2' raked in a total collection of Rs.402 million in India.
On the other hand, varied films like 'Lage Raho Munnabhai', 'Rang De Basanti', and 'Omkara' did much to up the standards of Hindi cinema.
The first month of the New Year has been encouraging as well. Though the month of January is traditionally considered bad for film trade, this year the so-called jinx seems to have been broken.
Mani Ratnam's 'Guru' garnered both public appreciation and box-office revenues. According to reports, the collection for the movie in India till now is Rs.246 million, while the overseas collections in the first 10 days was more than Rs.100 million.
The film has also garnered critical acclaim, though it could have benefited with the public curiosity over its lead pair who have announced their engagement in real life.
Trade pundits, however, are unhappy about the box-office performance of multi-starrer 'Salaam-E-Ishq'.
'The film's collection dropped sharply after the first day itself. The first week collection is Rs.82 million. Overseas, the collection for the film fell by 72 percent in Britain after collecting Rs.25.4 million for the opening weekend,' a trade analyst is quoted to have said.
The other drab was 'Kudiyon Ka Hai Zamaana' that deservingly got the audience's disapproval.
The year has movies ranging across period dramas like 'Eklavya' and 'Jodha Akbar' and sports-based movies like 'Goal' and 'Hattrick'. The biggies include Yash Raj Films' 'Tara Rum Pum', 'Chak de India' and Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Saawariya'. The sequel of animated movie 'Hanuman' is also slated for release as well as c's take on 'Sholay'.
Movies that are expected to be a connoisseur's delight include Anurag Kashyap's 'Black Friday' that is slated for release Friday after myriad delays and international production 'Provoked' starring Aishwarya Rai.
Mira Nair's 'The Namesake' based on Jhumpa Lahiri's Pulitzer winning novel and Deepa Mehta's 'Water' starring Lisa Ray and John Abraham, which has been nominated for the Oscar in the best foreign language film category, are also much awaited. Clearly, the party has just begun!