Handful of hits, big duds jolt Bollywood

"This year has not been very good. The only hits in 2010 have been 'Dabangg', 'Golmaal 3', 'Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai' and 'Peepli Live' that have saved the year from being a disaster," trade analyst Komal Nahta told IANS.

"Love Sex Aur Dhokha (LSD)", shot with a digital camera, rounds up the top five. "Balaji Motion Pictures is proud of making quality content, that too within feasible budgets...That is how two of our films ('Once Upon...' and 'LSD') have made it into the top five films of 2010. This is perhaps the perfect recipe for a hit," Girish Johar, head of acquisition and distribution, Balaji, told IANS.

Trade sources say the approximate net earnings of "LSD", "Once Upon...", "Peepli Live", "Dabangg" and "Golmaal 3" have been Rs.9 crore, Rs.60 crore, Rs.28 crore, Rs.145 crore and Rs.97 crore respectively, while their budgets were Rs.1 crore, Rs.20 crore, Rs.7 crore, Rs.40 crore and Rs.45 crore respectively.

"The losses are around Rs.250-300 crore after deducting the total profits of all the profit making movies from the total losses of the loss-making films and not considering films releasing Dec 10 onwards," added Nahta, who also hosts the popular trade show "ETC Bollywood Business".
Some are blaming the lacklustre year on the film themes.

Film historian S.M.M. Ausaja said: "The year has not been very eventful for Bollywood in terms of the success rate. The reason is the kind of subjects that were chosen.
"The producers mostly signed a star and wove a story around him, which was not engaging. All this mounted to production costs and the producers didn't get such returns."
With over 180 releases, the year saw big movies such as "Kites", "Raavan", "Rakta Charitra - Part I and II", "Veer", "Action Replayy", "Guzaarish" and "Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey" bite the dust.

A-list starrers like "Pyaar Impossible!", "Paathshala", "Rann", "Teen Patti", "Khatta Meetha", "Jhootha Hi Sahi", "We Are Family", "Aakrosh" and "Knock Out" were also damp squibs.

But there were some movies that were neither hits nor flops like "My Name Is Khan", "Housefull", "Raajneeti" and "Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge". While "Badmaash Company", "I Hate Luv Storys", "Break Ke Baad", "Anjaana Anjaani", "Tere Bin Laden" and "Phas Gaye Re Obama" did average business.  Underworld drama "Once Upon..." and Salman Khan's corrupt cop saga "Dabangg" managed to revive single screen theatres.

There were some like "Ishqiya", "Well Done Abba", "Lahore", "Udaan", "Red Alert - The War Within" and "Do Dooni Char", which went on to win critical acclaim. Superstar Rajnikant too made a comeback in B-Town at 60 as an android opposite Aishwarya Rai in "Robot".

2010 proved to be jinxed for all horror movies namely "Click", "Rokkk", "Hide & Seek", "Shaapit", "Phoonk 2", "Help", "Mallika", "Bachao" and "A Flat".

The experts suggest reasonable budgets in the coming year as a way out.  "The push back strategy would be to create good quality content within reasonable budgets with full involvement from all sectors, including creative marketing strategies, to attract eyeballs," said Johar.

Nahta said: "They need to work harder on the scripts. Secondly, they should be more realistic in their star pricing. The costs are so high, they can't recover their costs. It is not worthwhile to pay so much."  Ausaja said, "Audiences are not fools. The producers have got to concentrate on content."

The industry is hoping to upgrade the balance sheet with the much-awaited Akshay Kumar-Katrina Kaif starrer "Tees Maar Khan" that has almost Rs.50 crore riding on it. The film releases Dec 24.

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