On browsing through the release calendar of 2011, the first thought that came in my mind was - 'This year is going to be the year of biggies'. And then the second thought that came was - 'Isn't this always the case year after year?' For all the talks of how some of the New Age films are leaps and bounds ahead of what the multi-crore extravaganzas have to offer, the fact remains that the films which are the still being made in heaps are the biggies.
Of course an occasional Udaan or a Tere Bin Laden or a Love Sex Aur Dhokha does make its presence felt but the sum total of box office returns of these films is pretty much known to one and all. When it comes to taking stock of money churning that Bollywood does, it all boils down to the big ones. But does that mean that mean there is nothing else to look forward to? Our correspondent explores in the decade's first 'Reflections'.
The biggies are here
2011 is all set to be one fabulous year where all actors in Top-10 would have a release to their name. Let's talk about the Khans first. Aamir Khan (Dhobi Ghat, an untitled film with Reema Kagti), Shahrukh Khan (Ra. One, Don 2), Salman Khan (Ready, Bodyguard), Saif Ali Khan (Agent Vinod), Imran Khan (untitled film with Kareena Kapoor) - they all are looking forward to a big one each.
Usual suspects like Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgn who anyways have a knack of coming up with 3-4 films a year won't really be telling any different story this year when it comes to sheer numbers. Patiala House, Thank You and Desi Boyz are some of the Akshay starrers to release this year while Ajay will start 2011 from exactly the same point where he left 2010 with Dil To Baccha Hai Ji, remake of Singham, Rascals and Bol Bachchan being his next four films.
Hrithik Roshan is looking at two more big ones this year - Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Agneepath remake. As for Ranbir Kapoor, he is all set to be a Rockstar. And then there is Shahid Kapoor who would be enjoying his Mausam and perhaps even Heer And Ranjha.
Now if one looks at this list, none of these is a medium budget film by any means and has dozens of crores riding on them. No wonder, they also stay on to be in the charts when it comes to listing down some of the most awaited films of the year.
And then there is a middle rung
While the biggies are all set to stay in news and make all the kind of right noises that one expects from them, one keenly hopes (for the sake of industry if not anything else) that each of these turns out to be huge at the box office. Will that happen? Well, not necessarily as law of averages has to catch up with the biggest of the films, as seen in 2010 (Kites, Raavan, Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, Action Replayy, Guzaarish) as well as years before that.
This is the time when one looks at some medium budgeted films to do the wonders and keep the wheels running for Bollywood. The men who could well come to rescue? Abhishek Bachchan, Emraan Hashmi, John Abraham and others.
All said and done, despite his long list of flops, Abhishek Bachchan is saddled with quite a few offers when it comes to those films that don't have their budgets hitting the roof but are still good enough to promise an upmarket look. Fate of two such films would be known in the first half of the year as well with Game and Dum Maro Dum arriving within a month of each other. The second half of 2011 could also see the release of Players though his Bol Bachchan is confirmed for Diwali release.
Meanwhile Emraan Hashmi will continue his stint with Dil To Baccha Hai Ji, Murder 2 and at least one more film which he is expected to start and finish this year. After Crook and Tum Mile, he too is in need of a hit to his credit and 2011 could well end that barren patch.
As for John Abraham, he would be relying upon his Desi Boyz (with Akshay Kumar) and remake of Kaakha Kaakha (his solo film). For someone who had been sitting in a comfortable state after the twin success of New York and Dostana, his pending releases like Aashayein and Jhootha Hi Sahi did peg him back though one does hope for revival in fortunes.
Re-launches should make heads turn as well
2011 will also be special as there would be two major re-launches that would be medium budgeted affairs. Jaccky Bhagnani, who had all the right reasons to cry foul after an ill fated debut in Kal Kissne Dekha a year and a half back has put himself together all over for F.A.L.T.U. This time around though, he has a new leading lady as well as a first time director for company. Though one waits to see how the eventual product shapes up, it does guarantee some fabulous promotion at the least, courtesy an enterprising dad for a producer in the form of Vashu Bhagnani. The film will indeed be an acid test for the family.
Same holds good for Mimoh Chakraborty, now being presented as Mahakshay, who has quietly went ahead and finished a 3D horror film with Vikram Bhatt who is fast turning into 21st century Ramsay when it comes to churning out horror affairs. Mimoh had a disastrous start in Jimmy and while he went on a sabbatical for years gone by, it would be an all new fresh start for the youngster. With 3D as an added element of this re-launch, it could well be a new beginning for him all over again, and an interesting one at that.
And last but not the least, Himesh Reshammiya too would be hoping that after a forgettable 2010 where his sole release Kajraare was relegated to a DVD outing, at least one of his two films - Ishq Unplugged and A Love Issshtory does turn out to be a re-launch of sorts that brings him back in his reckoning.
Women power will throw some pleasant surprises though
For those who have always believed that women oriented films do not work at the box office (this does come with strong reasoning though based on facts and data), Priyanka Chopra could well a throw a surprise with 7 Khoon Maaf. If Ishqiya with a first time director and Vidya Balan can do well, why not 7 Khoon Maaf which has Vishal Bhardwaj pairing up with Priyanka for an author backed role?
Then there is Kangana who is doing all to break away from the self imposed shackles. If the promo of Tanu Weds Manu is any indication, her moment of reckoning has well arrived with a role where she is all set to showcase a different facet of her personality. One has seen how middle class has been lapped up by audience in films like Band Baaja Baaraat and Do Dooni Chaar last year. One only hopes for something even better with Tanu Weds Manu here.
The same also holds good for Gul Panag's Turning 30. Not many leading actresses would be willing to reveal their age, let aside acting in a film where the title by itself is a clear indication on which side of the 30s do they stand. However, Gul has taken the plunge and though one still looks forward to some added momentum in the promotion of this Prakash Jha production, as a product it does look enticing and naughty enough to throw in a pleasant surprise.
Naughty could well take a different connotation though with Vidya Balan turning seriously seductive for her Silk Smitha film The Dirty Picture. She did show glimpses of that in Ishqiya. Now audience will definitely be hoping that the lady goes the whole hog for this Milan Luthria and Ekta Kapoor affair.
Let's get the real ladies of substance do some real talking now!