September 26, 2008
Changing Taste of Hindi Movies
By Manish Gajjar
WE CELEBRATE my 100th Bollywood column in the Birmingham Mail this week by looking at the ever changing trends of the Bollywood Film industry over the past few months.
With UK multiplexes and independent cinemas screening a wide selection of Bollywood films, audience tastes have become more selective and diversified.
So the film industry is now rethinking beyond its regular song and dance formula to offer audience movies from different genres - comedies, thrillers, sci-fi or horror flicks.
Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwaryia Rai kick-started 2007 with Guru, based on a true story, depicting the rags to riches story of a ruthlessly ambitious villager gave rising star Abhishek the much needed career boost.
Abhishek Bachchan's forthcoming releases sees him as Drona, a modern futuristic tale of one man's spectacular voyage through the labyrinths of mystic myths and legendary legacies.
This is closely followed with Dostana, a love triangle also starring John Abraham and Bipasha Basu and Dilli 6, a story based on Chandni Chowk, India.
Comic drama, Heyy Baby looking at lives and loves of three Australia-based bachelors also brought to light Akshay Kumar's acting calibre. His acting talent was further consolidated with the psychological comedy-thriller, Bhool Bhulaiya, seeing actress Vidya Balan being nominated for the best actress award.
Laugh-riot Welcome further exhibited Akshay's comic strength as an eligible bachelor getting involved with a gang after falling in love with their sister played by London-bred actress Katrina Kaif. But with his recent Singh Is Kinng fetching more than pounds 1.5 million at the UK box office, Akshay Kumar is now in high demand.
Long time unemployed veteran comedian Govinda made a comeback in Partner inspired by the Hollywood flick Hitch, ably supported by Salman Khan. Govinda went on to act in the lukewarm comic caper, Money Hai Toh Honey Hai and is currently busy shooting for Mr and Mrs Khanna, a movie revolving around an extramarital affair. Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Sohail Khan also star in pivotal roles.
But it was Shah Rukh Khan who stole everyone's thunder last year with his critically acclaimed Chak De India as a girl's hockey coach trying to regain his lost pride. The film went on to win numerous awards in the Best Film category.
Meanwhile his tale of reincarnation and multi-award winning Om Shanti Om, directed by renowned choreographer turned director, Farah Khan, became the biggest grosser of 2007.
This reaffirmed Khan's position as the 'King of Bollywood'.
He makes a special appearance in the forthcoming comic caper Billo Barber and a wholesome family entertainer Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi releasing this December.
Actor-turned-director, Aamir Khan surprised all with his brilliant and sensitive debut direction of the critically acclaimed Taare Zameen Par taking an emotional look at adyslexic child being ridiculed by an ignorant world.
A amir will now star in the most anticipated Hindi adaptation of the Tamil film Ghajini releasing this December. His nephew Imran Khan and Genelia D'Souza's romantic caper, Jaane Tu Ya Na Jaane Na, revolving around friendship, was a surprise hit. As Bollywood welcomes Imran with open arms, he'll be seen in the tense thriller, Kidnap, about a power tussle between a young boy and an affluent businessman played by Sanjay Dutt. Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor became the popular Bollywood couple after the super-hit romantic comedy film, Jab We Met about a woman who seduced men to achieve her aims.
Kareena's next release, Golmaal Returns, will be an all out laugh riot starring alongside Ajay Devgan of U Me Aur Hum fame. Whilst she is doing a voiceover in the animation flick, Roadside Romeo with her current boyfriend Saif Ali Khan, she will also play the lead in the romantic drama Kambakth Ishq opposite Akshay Kumar with a cameo role by Sylvester Stallone.
Director duo Abbas - Mustaan's suspense thriller Race, based on sibbling rivalry, betrayal and passion took the box office by storm during Easter 2007. This has prompted them to produce another thriller with a nasty sting in the tail, titled Mr Fraud currently in production.
Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's brilliant portrayals in the historic and colourful epic, Jodhaa Akbar took pounds 1 million at the UK box office in January 2008. His role as Akbar made Hrithik the most sought after and highly paid Bollywood actor.
He even made a song and dance guest appearance in One Two Three despite his knee injury during Jodhaa Akbar. He is presently busy shooting for his new movie, Kites alongside Kangana Ranaut who previously worked with director Anurag Basu in Gangster and Life In A... Metro.
Whilst her performance as a shrewd westernised businesswoman in Sarkar Raj proved her acting prowess, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is once again venturing into Hollywood territory in The Pink Panther 2 alongside Steve Martin and John Cleese. She will also be seen in the much talked about sci-fi Tamil movie, Endhiran currently in production in South America.
Emraan Hashmi's Jannat about cricket match fixing and suspense thriller Woodstock Villa featuring newcomer Sikandar Kher (son of Anupam Kher) failed to meet audiences expectations. Despite these shortcomings, these lads have more projects in hand to entice audiences into cinemas.
The release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Sawaariya (2007) did not work its magic for debut actor, Ranbir Kapoor but this lad proved to all that he has the natural talent and charisma like his father, Rishi Kapoor after his release Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008). He is currently filming for director Raj Kumar Santoshi's Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani alongside Katrina Kaif and our very own British-born Upen Patel.
There were more losers than winners over the past two years including the family drama, U Me Aur Hum, comedies Krazzy 4, Ugly Aur Pagli and Sunday suggesting that no film can guarantee a good return at the box office due to unpredictable audiences' choices.
Bollywood industry is certainly evolving at a very fast pace and with Hollywood studios taking a slice of the action, lavish productions, state of the art special effects, and more diverse story telling are the order of the day!
Manish Gajjar is the Bollywood consultant for VUE Cinemas at Star City - the No.1 choice for Hindi movies in the West Midlands. For tickets or more info call 08712 240 240 or visit www.myvue.com
NOW SHOWING AT VUE STAR CITY
Mera Pind (U): Harbhajan Mann heads an all-star cast in this heart-warming film based on Punjabi culture depicting the importance of being an entrepreneur in your own land. *****
Singh is Kinng (PG): A romantic comedy about a gang of crooks transformed by a good man and his selfless love for a beautiful lady.
Bachna Ae Haseeno (PG): Youthful romance depicting a man's journey through love, life and relationships. *****
***** Unmissable **** Enjoyable *** Watchable ** Forgettable * Regrettable X Abominable
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