June 7, 2010

Hype? Yes Hit? No

big bollywood has flopped big time in the first few months of 2010. “this has been one of the worst years for the industry with major films failing to match up to the pre-release hype,” says mumbai-based trade analyst taran adarsh. t2 lists nine big films that were full of sound and fury signifying nothing...

Budget: Rs 25 crore (approx.)
Cast: Priyanka Chopra, Uday Chopra
Director: Jugal Hansraj
Tall claims: Promoted as a ‘beauty and geek’ love story, producers Yash Raj Films tried filming this Priyanka Chopra-Uday Chopra starrer on the lines of a Hollywood rom com. “I have a feeling that Pyaar Impossible will be one of the biggest grossers of the year,” Uday — who turned scriptwriter with this film — announced to all and sundry in the run-up to the January release.
Promo madness: Not really a topline Yash Raj production, Pyaar Impossible didn’t witness an OTT publicity blitzkrieg. But fresh from the success of Kaminey and flush with the excitement of a National Award, Priyanka — in an eye-catching bob and sexy shirt-dresses on every TV channel — forced you to give her a 10 on 10 while the peppy Alisha had every nightclub grooving.
Why: Uday as hero (even though he was playing a geek!) was one of the primary reasons why the audience decided to stay away. Formulaic and boring, Priyanka did her best to justify her Rs 6 crore fee, but still found it impossible to save Pyaar Impossible from tanking at the box office. According to, PI collected a mere Rs 6 crore in its three-week run.
Viewer voice: “Uday Chopra made a mess of a promising story. Priyanka looked like a dream though,” says college student Surbhi Joshi.
t2 suggestion: Can you imagine how much fun a geeky Ranbir Kapoor could have infused into this yawnathon?
Budget: Rs 35 crore
Cast: Sushmita Sen, Fardeen Khan. Plus, Shah Rukh Khan
Director: Mudassar Aziz
Tall claims: Sushmita Sen and Shah Rukh Khan together after Main Hoon Na with Fardeen Khan in a supporting act in a film produced by Viveck ‘Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman’ Vaswani sounded like a dream project on paper. “This is one film that has not aged despite the delay in shooting. When I look at the finished product, the entire wait was entirely worth it,” was what Sush had to say weeks before the release. Well, the handful of viewers did age a few decades sitting in the audi where DMG was being screened!
Promo madness: Conscious that they had a potential loser on their hands, the makers went all out to promote DMG as a Shah Rukh Khan film, despite the Bollywood Badshah having only a guest appearance. As a result, SRK distanced himself from the promotions, even going as far as announcing that he would never make a special appearance in a film again!
Why: Poor direction and a dated script ensured that Dulha Mil Gaya was nothing more than old wine in an old bottle. Sushmita lapsing into Archana Puran Singh mode time and again, Fardeen’s deadpan expressions and Shah Rukh’s bored look did nothing to help. reported that the film earned just Rs 3.5 crore, labelling it a “disaster”.
Viewer voice:Dulha Mil Gaya had a 60s storyline in a 2010 packaging. Sushmita Sen’s Shimmer was a real headache-inducer,” says software professional Mainak Duttagupta.
t2 suggestion: Fardeen Khan shouldn’t be seen within 200 yards of a film set. And director Mudassar Aziz, next time get a script!
Budget: Rs 55 crore (approx)
Cast: Salman Khan, Mithun Chakraborty, Jackie Shroff, Sohail Khan, Zarine Khan
Director: Anil Sharma
Tall claims: In pre-release interviews, Anil Sharma described Veer as a “mass entertainer”, while Salman crowned it “Bollywood’s biggest epic yet”!
Promo madness: Salman turned scriptwriter for Veer and went all out to promote it — from riding a horse at the Mahalaxmi Race Course to walking the talk at his Being Human fashion shows.
Why: Numerous historical fallacies apart, the unintentionally comic Veer was a test of the audience’s patience. Salman tried his best to breathe (read snort) life into his character of a braveheart with Mithun lending able support, but to sit through three hours of this mangled mess of a movie was just asking for three much. Zarine was dubbed Fat Kat, with ample reason. Veer’s total losses amounted to nearly Rs 40 crore!
Viewer voice: “I laughed at even the supposed serious scenes,” says banker Kaushik Mitra.
t2 suggestion: Trimming the film to less than two hours and retaining only the Salman-Mithun scenes would have been the only way Veer would have managed to be a little more Wanted.
Budget: Rs 20 crore (approx)
Cast: Shahid Kapur, Genelia D’Souza
Director: Ken Ghosh
Tall claims: Touted as an autobiographical take on Shahid Kapur’s real-life struggles. “Chance Pe Dance is a film everyone will identify with. The young and old will flock to see the film,” Shahid had claimed in many a pre-release interview.
Promo madness: Post the Kaminey frenzy, director Ken Ghosh decided to do chance pe dance and piggyback on Shahid’s red-hot status. Apart from the usual brand tie-ups, a series of unique promotional activities followed with Shahid and Genelia even spending an entire night cooped up in a car — just as Shahid’s character does in the film!
Why: Thanda story, thanda direction, thanda performances. Even though this was his mentor’s film, one could tell clearly that Shahid’s heart was not in Chance Pe Dance. The Shahid-Genelia cute rom com moments failed to rise above the mediocre script. The promos didn’t pique audience interest and the string of negative reviews sounded the death knell for Chance Pe Dance which managed to earn only a third of its investment.
Viewer voice: “I love Shahid and Genelia but still couldn’t sit through more than an hour of the film. I liked Shahid’s moves on the dance floor though,” says college goer Samir Agarwal.
t2 suggestion: Only a good cast doesn’t a good film make. How about getting a credible script the next time around? Even a love triangle would have spiced up this dance pe failed chance a wee bit.
Budget: Rakesh Roshan’s Filmkraft sold Kites to Big Films for Rs. 105 crore
Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Barbara Mori, Kangana Ranaut
Director: Anurag Basu
Tall claims: Now this was one film that made far more news before release than after. From the fallout between director Anurag Basu and producer Rakesh Roshan to the hot-hot Hrithik-Barbara offscreen vibes, the Roshans went all out to keep the Kites interest flying high for months.
Promo madness: With premieres at London and New York, Kites was promoted as “Bollywood’s first international project”. The entire PR machinery of Kites worked long and hard in highlighting the Hrithik-Barbara chemistry. Stories of Hrithik’s wife Sussanne walking out of the Roshan home because of Barbara were fed to the media months prior to the May 21 release date.
Why: Stylish locales, beautiful people and a distinct international feel were there all right, but somewhere the makers forgot to spare a thought for the script. Ticket rates hit the roof, but after a frenzied weekend, footfalls plummeted miserably. Team Kites has been unable to take the failure, with papa Rakesh blaming biased reviews and beta Hrithik tweeting vociferously against those who have given them the thumbs down.
Viewer voice: “Hrithik looked hot but Kites was a huge bore,” says college goer Pavitra Joshi.
t2 suggestion: A total remake.
Budget: Rs 30 crore
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Paresh Rawal, Riteish Deshmukh, Sudeep
Director: Ram Gopal Varma
Tall claims: Touted as an expose on the murky goings-on in the media world, director RGV claimed Rann was “the most hard-hitting film of the year”. Well, what can we say apart from the fact that Rann did hit the unsuspecting viewer. Hard!
Promo madness: Innovative movie marketing got a strong fillip with Rann. Bachchan went all out to promote friend RGV’s latest, even reading out the primetime bulletin on news channels!
Why: Sensationalistic and over the top, Rann turned out to be a little too hyperbolic for the audience’s taste. Bachchan tried to salvage matters towards the end but it was a case of too little too late.
Viewer voice: “Rann had a promising theme let down by poor execution. I thought Sudeep was good in certain scenes but sometimes he overacted too,” says homemaker Mita Sengupta.
t2 suggestion: Needed: A hard-hitting, no-holds barred treatment of the subject. Not needed: the weird camera angles, the eardrum-bursting background score, the caricaturish performances.
Budget: Rs 25 crore
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Sir Ben Kingsley, R Madhavan
Director: Leena Yadav
Tall claims: Boosted by the to-die-for opportunity of casting Big B and Sir B in the same film and backed by Hinduja money power, director Leena Yadav went all out to promote Teen Patti as a Bachchan-Kingsley classic. “The conversations between them are dynamite,” Yadav told t2 in the run up to the release.
Promo madness: Led by Bachchan, the lead cast left no card unturned in promoting Teen Patti, just stopping short of organising gambling sessions! But the racy promos failed to translate into a racy film.
Why: Cryptic and confusing, the much-touted Bachchan-Kingsley interactions were as cold as a slab of ice. Yadav tried to pack too many things into Teen Patti, making it an unbearable watch.
Viewer voice: “I couldn’t really understand much of Teen Patti. But whatever I could understand was pretty bad,” laughs college student Antara Dasgupta.
t2 suggestion: Yadav should have exploited the Bachchan-Ben jugalbandi to the hilt. Also, would have made more sense to prolong the bare-back fest in the Neeyat number. That was far better than the rest of Teen Patti put together.
Budget: Rs 25 crore
Cast: Shahid Kapur, Anushka Sharma, Meiyang Chang, Vir Das
Director: Parmeet Sethi
Tall claims: In pre-release interviews, director Parmeet Sethi claimed that he had written the Badmaash Company script in six days flat. Well Parmeet, it showed!
Promo madness: Shahid and Co. did not go on a massive promo binge, but in the days before the release, their faces were plastered on every television channel. Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi girl Anushka’s hotbod in a teeny-weeny yellow bikini top was massively promoted. We weren’t impressed.
Why: A hastily put together script and lacklustre performances summed up Badmaash Company. A disinterested Shahid only made matters worse. Despite a decent first weekend, Badmaash Company was a major loser at the box office.
Viewer voice: “For a con film Badmaash Company was pretty boring. I lost interest midway through the film,” says school student Ishaan Singhania.
t2 suggestion: Er, how about taking a little more time to write a more gripping script? And how about a little bit of badmaashi between Shahid and Anushka?
Budget: Rs 45 crore
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Arjun Rampal, Riteish Deshmukh, Deepika Padukone, Lara Dutta, Jiah Khan
Director: Sajid Khan
Tall claims: With weeks to go for the release, Sajid Khan promised producer Sajid Nadiadwala that Housefull would rake in upwards of Rs 60 crore at the box-office.
Promo madness: From the IPL matches to the Roadies finals to the T20 World Cup, team Housefull was just about everywhere. Led by the director, the cast even landed up at the doorstep of unsuspecting fans urging them to watch the film.
Why: Cringe-inducing humour and the lack of genuine laughs was the chief complaint against Housefull. Though not a flop by any standards, Housefull failed to meet audience expectations. It shattered many a box-office record in its opening weekend, but negative reviews and poor word-of-mouth slowed down its box-office run.
Viewer voice: “People slapping each other at random doesn’t make me laugh. The laughing gas gag at the end only made matters worse,” says homemaker Shweta Sareen.
t2 suggestion: A little less toilet humour, a little more script-sense. A little less of the prolonged climax, a little more genuine laughs. A little less of Lara and Riteish, a little more of Boman Irani’s Gujju papa and Chunkey Pandey’s Aakhri Pasta.