By: Joginder Tuteja, IndiaFM
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Vishesh Films' The Killer released this Friday and one can't resist but make on interesting observation! Majority of Bollywood films in the past that have the title starting with 'THE' have met with an abysmal response at the box office! While this 'Collateral' inspired thriller directed by the debutant 'jodi' of Raksha Mistry and Hasnain Hyderabadwala seems set for a decent outing, it may just about break the jinx associated with the prefix THE!
If one looks at some of the recent films that started with THE, the ones that come at the top of the mind are 'videsi' imports 'The Mistress Of Spices' and The Myth. Both were expected to put their leading ladies in the top bracket as far as overseas market was concerned but neither 'videsi' nor 'desi' junta was impressed. While Aishwarya Rai was at her disinterested best in The Mistress of Spices that was bland to the core, Mallika's 8 minutes of glory in The Myth went unnoticed as this Jackie Chan starrer fell flat on its face. While Aishwarya still has some overseas projects lined up and hence won't be much effected by The Mistress Of Spices debacle, Mallika is trying to come out of the 'zor-ka-jhatka' called The Myth and is now concentrating on her Bollywood career.
Let's come to one of the Bollywood films that carried the prefix 'THE' and turned out to be one of the biggest disasters of 2005. We are talking about Junaid Memon directed 'The Film' that came and went before one could even call out the full name of the film! Touted to be Mahima Chaudhary's THE film, it was reasonably well made but poorly publicized and released that resulted in its downfall. Soon after Memon was heard complaining about the publicity and release and how he intended to re-release the film at more opportune time with better planning! And that's all one has heard from him in last 7-8 months!
One of the imports from the South that released a few weeks back was titled The Angrez. Made by an independent set of film makers and actors, it tried to be another Hyderabad Blues but didn't cut ice with either a 'hindustani' or an 'angrez'. And we don't really blame you if you haven't ever heard of the film!
Now let's look at some of the biggies that came a few years back with immense hype. There was nothing wrong in the planning, the cast and the crew looked all perfect and the film had all the makings of a blockbuster. Still, the final outcome had a different story to tell. We are talking about The Legend Of Bhagat Singh and The Hero. Though Raj Kumar Santoshi's The Legend Of Bhagat Singh was an extremely well made film, its clash with Bobby Deol's 23rd March 1931 Shaheed led to the downfall of both the films. Ajay Devgan gave his heart and soul for this historical saga but probably the 'THE' jinx had other plans set for the film! Ditto for The Hero which brought the Gadar team of Anil Sharma and Sunny Deol together. The film took a bumper start altogether and even went to do business over 20 crores [a big figure in those days], but the high costs associated with the film resulted in an average/below average box-office status. And no, the Gadar like outcome was nowhere in site!
Let's talk about some of the movies in the past now that again boasted of big names but failed at the box office. Chiranjeevi's The Gentleman comes to the mind immediately. Probably he was so shattered by the Bollywood reception to his film that he never returned to doing another film in Mumbai after that and called it adieu. This remake of a hit South film based on the issue of reservation was directed by none other than Mahesh Bhatt [who was directing films by dozens in those days] and turned out to be a turkey at the box office.
Long before Farhan Akhtar decided to remake Don, Mithun Chakravorty had other plans as he acted in the title role of a don, albeit with a change in the title hence making it, you guessed it right, The Don! This Farouq Siddique film came at the time when Mithun was just beginning to form his alternate 'Ooty-wood' industry! Result? Hardly many people know that a film like this existed inspite of rest of the starcast reading Sonali Bendre, Jugal Hansraj, Prem Chopra and Kadar Khan.
The lone success that one can recollect for a movie beginning with 'THE' has to be The Great Gambler. Starring Amitabh Bachchan in the title role, it was a stylishly executed thriller by Shakti Samanta who was otherwise mostly known for his family/social dramas before The Great Gambler. He shifted the genres and the move worked. Though a success for a film starting with 'The' was still an exception, which was proved with the subsequent release of The Burning Train. Another well made thriller, it was directed by Ravi Chopra but probably was way ahead of its time. It's a pity that the film met with a poor reception.
Looking ahead there are some more films to come that seem to have been infested by the 'THE' jinx. With their release stuck since one can remember, at the top of the list comes The Perfect Husband. Starring Praveen Dabas and Rajeshwari Sachdev in principal roles, this film by Priya Ruth Paul has been ready for over 2 years but is still waiting for buyers. Ditto for The Bachelor that is directed by Ajai Sinha of TV soap 'Astitva' fame. Supposed to be the first film that would have starred the Sen sisters, Ria and Raima together, The Bachelor is stuck in the cans. Since Sharman Joshi stars in the lead role, would buyers show some interest after two back to back successes for the young lad in the form of Rang De Basanti and Golmaal?
After The Killer releases this week, Bollywood screens would also see the arrival of The Hangman soon. But isn't it a little late in the day for this Vishal Bhandari directed film that was supposed to have come much before Shreyas Talpade made it big with Iqbal? After all The Hangman starring Om Puri in the title role has an added attraction in the form of Talpade who plays an important part in the film.
Last but not the least, one can't help but remark on one of the films by Irrfan Khan that would make headlines whenever it is ready to hit the marquee, whether it is today, after a month, a year or even after 5 years. With a film that reads its title as The Story of a Porn Filmmaker, who won't be interested after all. And yes, if 'The Killer' [an Irrfan Khan starrer by the way] doesn't break the jinx, we can just pray that The Story of a Porn Filmmaker does!
After all a jinx is meant to be broken!