Guess who has turned out to be first and the only hero in year 2007 to enter into Rs. 100 crores bracket? It is not a Khan or a Roshan or a Kumar or a Bachchan or a Dutt. It is the most unusual suspect of all - Riteish Deshmukh!
Believe it or not but Ritiesh is the only Bollywood hero this year to be creating a league for itself with his films doing a collective business of Rs. 100 crores at Indian box office so far .
While his first release of 2007, CASH, closed at around 20.5 crores after earning more than 80% of it's total over the opening weekend, his next release HEYY BABYY went on to break quite a few records as it earned a superhit tag for itself en route to it's current 51.5 crores mark. This is not all as Riteish has gone on to be a part of third multi crore project in a row with his DHAMAAL turning out to be a hit too after making close to 28 crores in 4 weeks flat and still counting.
"Hey, I didn't have any idea about this", exclaims a surprised Riteish when told about this feat, "I knew that these films had been doing well in different capacities but me being the first actor with 100 crores to his name? Man, it's unbelievable! It's a great feeling."
As one digs deeper into collections, Shahrukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt and Abhishek Bachchan are his closest competitors in the remainder of the year.
Films starring Akshay Kumar have so far earned close to 88 crores this year. While his NAMASTEY LONDON made 37 crores, HEYY BABYY is still counting cash after 51.5 crores.
Salman Khan has almost the same figures to his name with SALAAM E ISHQ (25 crores), PARTNER (62 crores) and MARIGOLD (0.75 crores) inching towards 88 crores mark as well. Sanjay Dutt comes next with close to 85 crores though he has done far more number of releases like SHOOTOUT AT LOKHANDWALA (33.5 crores), DHAMAAL (28 crores), EKLAVYA - THE ROYAL GUARD (19 crores) and NEHLLE PE DEHLLA & SARHAD PAAR totaling up to 4 crores.
Abhishek Bachchan, who had two major releases GURU (41 crores) and JHOOM BARABAR JHOOM (27 crores), comes next with the scoreboard reading 68 crores. SHOOTOUT AT LOKHANDWALA could well be left out from this list though since it was nothing more than a glorified guest appearance. On the other hand Shahrukh Khan, with the power of a solitary release CHAK DE INDIA, is riding high with 62 crores and still counting.
So does Riteish get to enjoy his numero uno box office earner position till the year end? Not exactly! Akshay Kumar's BHOOL BHULAIYAA would surely open much more than the 12 crore deficit that would take him past the 100 crores mark. Salman Khan has an extended special appearance in SAAWARIYA which should take a massive opening and place him comfortably into the 100 crore bracket.
On the other hand though it may be wait and watch to see Abhishek Bachchan's LAAGA CHUNARI MEIN DAAG totalling close to 32 crores which would bring him in the elite group, there are no doubts that Shahrukh Khan's OM SHANTI OM would cross at least 38 crores to consolidate his place right up there with the other money-spinner stars.
Laughs Riteish, "It is actually a wow feeling to be talked about in the same vein as the rest of the superstars who have been consistently delivering hits for years. I know that I may be able to retain this record only for a few days before films starring each of these actors start arriving. At least till then, let me enjoy this status till then at the least."