By far the biggest hit of the year is undoubtedly Raj Kumar Hirani"s latest magnum opus 3 Idiots. The film has witnessed unprecedented opening collections including the paid preview collections. Perhaps for the first time in the annals of the Hindi cinema, 3 Idiots had as many as 38 shows starting from the unearthly hour of 6 am. Besides 3 Idiots" there were only ten out of the 240 plus films made in Hindi during the year, which proved to be hits. They were Love Aaj Kal, Kaminey, All The Best, Wanted, De Dana Dan, New York, Wake Up Sid, Raaz- The Mystery Continues, Dev D, Paa and last but not the least Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani.
Love Aaj Kal, director Imtiaz Ali"s third directorial venture and Saif"s first attempt as a producer, which was appreciated by both critics and audiences. Though it was made on a budget of Rs.48 crore, it did business of about Rs.75 crore in its first week itself. Spanning two different eras, the romantic drama starred Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone and newcomer Giselle Monteiro.
The unprecedented success of Vishal Bhardwaj"s Kaminey made on a budget of Rs.35 crores was a gamble at making a crime thriller that succeeded in talking both director Vishal Bhardwaj and actor Shahid Kapoor to a different level. Also starring Priyanka Chopra, the film"s box office earning was close to Rs.63.75 crore in India.
All The Best, directed by Rohit Shetty was the solo survivor during the Diwali week, which saw the release of Blue as well as Main Aurr Mrs. Khanna too. The laugh riot opened to a slow start, but picked up gradually, thanks to word of mouth. Starring Ajay Devgn, Bipasha Basu, Sanjay Dutt, Fardeen Khan and Mugdha Godse, it grossed Rs.50 crore out of its about Rs.30 crores investment.
Salman Khan ended up as a wanted actor by every one in Bollywood after his film Wanted, the Hindi remake of the Telugu hit Pokkiri, which sent every one"s adrenaline pumping by showing the power of single-screen theatres in the country as the maximum collections came from there. Directed by Prabhu Deva, the film"s total cost was Rs.35 crores but it recovered the investment by earning Rs.38 crores in its first week itself!
Though De Dana Dan, directed by Priyadarshan had stars like Akshay Kumar, Sunil Shetty, Paresh Rawal, Katrina Kaif and Sameera Reddy, and started with a good box office response, it started limping gradually and will take some time before it makes a kill at the box office. Made at a budget of Rs.37 crores, it managed to rake in around Rs.68 crore at the domestic box office and is still running.
Kabir Khan"s New York broke the dry spell at the ticket counters as the first hit after the producer-distributor and multiplex strike over revenue sharing got over. The film dealt with terrorism and had John Abraham, Katrina Kaif and Neil Nitin Mukesh as key players. Where producer Karan Johar was unlucky with his film on terrorism- Kurbaan flopping at the box office, Aditya Chopra was happy with handsome rewards at the box office for his film. Aditya, however, was disappointed with the outcome at the box office of both his ambitious films Dil Bole Hadippa and Rocket Singh- Salesman Of The Year directed by Shimit Amin.
Wake Up Sid, not an expensive film by any standard hit the bull"s eye at the box office though it had an unusual lead pair - Ranbir Kapoor and Konkona Sen Sharma. Made on a low budget of Rs.15 crores by Karan Johar under his banner Dharma Productions, the debutant director Ayan Mukherjee"s film collected Rs.42.75 crores in India. .
Raaz- The Mystery Continues proved to be an unexpected success and the first hit of the year. The movie proved that content rules at the box office. Made on a shoestring budget of Rs.9 crore, producers Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt managed to earn Rs.33 crores in India. Director Mohit Suri"s film had Emraan Hashmi, Kangana Ranaut and Adhyayan Suman in the lead roles. The Bhatts tasted failure with their next venture Jashn, which had Shekhar Suman"s son Adhyayan leading the star cast with Anjana Sukhani and Shahana Goswami.
Abhay Deol scored a high as an actor with his hit film Dev D, a low-budget film with not so big co-stars like Mahi Gill and Kalki Koechlin. It was writer Anurag Kashyap"s take on Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's classic Bengali novel Devdas. Director Anurag Kashyap presented the doomed love story with chutzpah and people loved watching the tragic love story in its new avatar. While the total money invested in the movie was a meager Rs.6 crores, it earned Rs.23.25 crores.
Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani directed by Rajkumar Santoshi who tasted a big hit after his film Hulla Bol flopped last year, proved to be the savior for Ranbir Kapoor, besides Wake Up Sid, though his Rocket Singh- Salesman of the year bombed, like Madhur Bhandarkar"s Jail. The Ranbir-Katrina star pair was liked by the audiences, so much so, that the media was full of stories about how Ranbir had dropped his lady love Deepika for the sake of Katrina, in spite of Salman Khan, though both Ranbir and Kat denied the stories vehemently.
Amitabh Bachchan proved that he is indeed the Shahenshah at the box office by coming up with an award winning performance as Abhishek Bachchan and Vidya Balan"s child afflicted with illness called Progeria in 'Paa". The film directed by R. Balki who had earlier made Cheeni Kum was made on a budget of Rs 16 crores but can be safely called a hit because Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan and directors R. Balki reportedly did not charge their market price for the film and also the Bachchans- both Amitabh and Abhishek have reportedly kept the satellite rights of the film which is valued at Rs 10 crores.
Though Priyanka had a hit in the form of Kaminey, she tasted failure when What's Your Raashee? proved that she couldn"t carry a film on her shoulders. Ditto was the case with Rani Mukherjee who could not carry Dil Bole Hadippa on her shoulders. Though the year proved to be dismal for Shahrukh Khan whose Billu flopped at the box office, in spite of having Priyadarshan as the director. Kareena tasted failure with both Main Aurr Mrs Khanna as well as Kurbaan though she had a hit in the form of 3 Idiots. Bipasha had a hit in All The Best though her film Aa Dekhe Zara sank without a trace.
As far as the actors are concerned, it was certainly a bad year for Akshay Kumar, since every film of his flopped- 8 X 10 Tasveer, Chandni Chowk to China, Kambakkht Ishq and Blue. To some extent De Dana Dan helped him resurrect his sagging career. Saif Ali Khan had a hit in Love Aaj Kal and a flop in Kurbaan. It is Aamir Khan who scored a high with his film 3 Idiots which was an icing on the cake for Rajkumar Hirani whose third film it was, after Munnabhai MBBS and Lage Raho Munnabhai.
On the whole, it was a lackadaisical and lackluster year for Bollywood which faced the worst set back during the year when the multiplexes remained closed for almost two months crippling the film industry badly. One hopes the year 2010 is able to bring cheers to Bollywood!