With its share of ups and downs...

With its share of ups and downs...

Sandalwood round-up

With its share of ups and downs...

‘Sarathi’, starring Darshan and Deepa Sannidhi, went on to become the biggest hit of the year

The year has almost come to an end and looks like the Kannada film industry is getting used to reaching the ‘century mark’. The year 2010 had seen the release of 130 films and with 120 films making it to the silver screen in 2011, nothing much has changed this year. The overall response to the releases has been a mixed one as only 15 per cent of them have actually clicked at the box office and left a lasting impression in the minds of the audience.

Out of the 120 released films, 25 are remakes and out of these, movies like Kempegowda and Hudgru have done really well. There have also been movies like Hudgru, Olave Mandara, ‘Sanju Weds Geetha’, Johnny Mera Naam, Preethi Mera Kaam among others that have completed 100 days in the theatre. While Paramathma, Kempegowda, Kalla Malla Sulla, Badra, Kiraataka and ‘Krishnan Marriage Story’ completed the 50-day mark.

The real surprise and turning point of the year was the success of the Darshan-starrer Sarathi. Despite Darshan being put behind bars for allegedly abusing his wife, the movie went on to become the highest-grossing Kannada film of the year. The film also saw Deepa Sannidhi making her debut on the silver screen. The film, she says, has proved to be lucky for her. “As everyone knows, the release of Sarathi was not a peaceful one. But the fact that it actually made it to the 100-day-mark makes me feel so proud. I am so glad that the audience accepted the movie with open arms and even the industry recognised my good work,” says Deepa, who has many big releases lined up in the coming year.

Another movie that also started with a controversy was the Sudeep-starrer Vishnuvardhana. The movie, that released a few weeks back, has been receiving acclaim and raking in the moolah. So much so that the team now plans to remake it in Telugu and Hindi. Film-maker and lyricist Nagendra Prasad says, “The year has seen a lot of newcomers in every aspect of cinema but not all have been successful. I was bowled over by Vishnuvardhana, which was directed by a newcomer. The team has put in tremendous effort and I hope the industry comes up with more such films.”

One also got to see offbeat films like B Suresh’s Puttakkana Highway and even experimental ones like Upendra’s ‘Super’. But one of the biggest letdown of the year was the much-hyped Shivarajkumar’s 100th film Jogaiah. KV Chandrashekhar, the president of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, says one cannot really point out which film brought in the most money. “But unlike last year, this year saw all the top heroes in the industry release a film and all of them got good reviews from the audience, and that is something to cheer about,” he adds.

When it comes to trends, it was the leading ladies who took the cake with their ‘special numbers’ being the highlight of their films. Be it Ramya, who danced to Urigoble Padmavati in Johnny Mera Naam... or Ragini Dwivedi shaking it to Thuppa Beka... in Kalla Malla Sulla, these girls could give any of the item girls a run for their money. “I feel as long as an actress is convinced and trusts her director, there is no reason why such a song should be an issue. The Thuppa... song is extremely special to me and the fact that the audience received it so well makes it even more special,” says Ragini.

The year has had its share of ups and downs but the industry is not one to be bogged down by that. The coming year, they say will be even better. After all, there are many movies that have already ignited the curiosity of film buffs. Some movies that one can look out for are Yogesh-starrer Siddlingu, ‘Godfather’ starring Upendra and the historical film Kranti Veera Sangolli Raayanna starring Darshan. The much-awaited Anna Bond will see Puneeth Rajkumar and director Suri come together after the highly-successful ‘Jackie’.