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Year of sequels

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KOMAL NAHTA Published 24.12.06, 12:00 AM

With the year coming to a close, it is now certain that 2006 belonged to Hrithik Roshan and Aamir Khan. Both the top stars had two releases each and all four of them hit the bull’s eye. Hrithik, of course, must be rejoicing because he stars in the two biggest hits of the year. Yash Chopra and Aditya Chopra’s Dhoom 2 — starring Hrithik, Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek Bachchan and Bipasha Basu — smashed all previous records to become the biggest grosser of the year. It surpassed Krrish which firmly established Hrithik as India’s first super hero.

Overseas, though, Karan Johar’s Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, as expected, turned out to be the biggest blockbuster of all times. Including its DVD returns, the foreign business of the multi-starrer about extra-marital affairs made the maverick film maker richer by Rs 32 crore. In India, the film did make money for its distributors but not as much as on the overseas circuit.

Aamir Khan’s Rang De Basanti was released in January, and Fanaa mid-year. Both films rocked the box office and the latter made it to the top five despite not being released in Gujarat.

Sanjay Dutt may have gone through hell as he awaited the verdict of the TADA court in the Bombay bomb blasts case in which he was an accused, but the year had the most pleasant professional surprise in store for him. His second in the Munnabhai series, Lage Raho Munnabhai, released in 2006, is Sanjay’s biggest ever hit and the year’s third biggest.

It was not just the biggies that broke box office records. Sooraj Barjatya regained a strong foothold with the runaway success of his moderate budgeted Vivah. Although the media is unwilling to accept the magnitude of success of the family drama, the fact is that the Barjatyas are laughing all the way to the bank. The Shahid Kapoor and Amrita Rao starrer cost them just around Rs 7 crore to make but the net returns will total Rs 23 crore to Rs 25 crore. Business in the two metropolitan cities of Bombay and Delhi may not have been big enough but the film is going from strength to strength in other places, making it the fourth biggest hit of the year.

Other small films which made it quite big at the ticket windows were the laugh riot Malamaal Weekly and the musical Gangster. Pritish Nandy’s Pyaar Ke Side Effects and Subhash Ghai’s Apna Sapna Money Money tickled the funny bone of the audience and also brought a smile to the faces of those associated with them. Govinda’s comeback film, Bhagam Bhag, co-starring Akshay Kumar was, at the time of going to press, expected to strike gold. Akshay Kumar seems to have made a decent place for himself in the audience’s hearts as far as comedies go. His Phir Hera Pheri also made a lot of moolah at the turnstiles. But his Jaan-E-Mann with his Mujhse Shaadi Karogi co-star Salman Khan failed to recreate the same magic.

The year 2006 will also go down in Bollywood history as a year of sequels and remakes. All the sequels clicked. Phir Hera Pheri was a far, far bigger box office hit than Hera Pheri. Krrish also did greater business than Koi… Mil Gaya. Dhoom 2 raked in revenues equal to the entire revenues of Dhoom in its first week itself. Although Lage Raho Munnabhai was not a sequel (it was the second in a series), its business also exceeded that of Munnabhai MBBS by leaps and bounds.

As far as remakes are concerned, Shah Rukh Khan’s Don is the only one which clicked. In the UK, the film went on to create havoc but in the rest of the world, as in India, the remake of the Bachchan starrer managed to make profits, mainly on the strength of the stardom of Shah Rukh Khan. Aishwarya Rai’s Umrao Jaan had absolutely no jaan at the box office. Similarly, Jai Santoshi Maa failed to create box-office miracles like its 1975 original.

The shockers of the year were Baabul, Omkara (which didn’t work despite the rave reviews), Naksha, Family — Ties Of Blood, Tathastu, Humko Deewana Kar Gaye, Shiva and Darna Zaroori Hai. As for pleasant but small surprises, there were Khosla Ka Ghosla!, 36 China Town, Aksar, Taxi No. 9211 and Tom, Dick And Harry.

Komal Nahta is editor of Film Information

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