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Badly Burnt In Year Gone By, Industry Looks To Strong Content

Bharati Dubey | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; January 3, 2010)


Pursue excellence and success will pursue you,’’ was what Aamir Khan’s character philosophised in 3 Idiots. But when the lights dimmed and audiences sat down after the National Anthem, what greeted them on screens for most part of the year was average, even poor fare, making 2009 the annus horribilis of the first decade of the 21st century. More than 200 films, with Rs 1500 crore at stake, released last year but almost Rs 1000 crore sank in the sea of mediocrity without a bubble, the sharks-andsexy bikini Blue leading the pack.
Added to it was the multiplex strike which cost around Rs 350 crore, upset release dates forcing films to share Fridays and dent each others’ collections. A multiplex source said, “Cannibalisation caused by big films’ release dates clashing could have been avoided.’’


The year began with Chandni Chowk To China that lost 50% of its Rs 65-crore budget. And marketing blitzkreigs couldn’t save a Blue and Kambakkht Ishq and the audience clearly showed content was king with surprise hits like DevD, New York, WaKe Up Sid and Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani. DevD made Rs 6 crore, collected Rs 25 crore at the box office while its ancillary rights made another Rs 5 crore and there are still more satellite runs to be sold. Trade experts also put films like Love Aaj Kal, Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani, Wanted among the certified hits, followed by profitable films like Paa, All The Best, De Dana Dan and Raaz 2.


But Bollywood’s loss was Hollywood’s gain, with films like 2012 and Avatar (that collected a whopping Rs 50 crore so far) filling the void for good entertainment.


It was left to And Aamir Khan to play Santa Claus third year in a row, with 3 Idiots the biggest hit of the year. It grossed a phenomenal Rs 100 crore in India in the first four days, and Rs 175 crore worldwide till December 31, even denting into collections of Avatar. Trade analyst Amod Mehra said, “What Ghajini collected in a week, this film has done in three days.


Corporates didn’t really have a great year in 2009 and after the bloodbath in the first half of the year, most of them avoided buying films outright, with even 3 Idiots being released on commission.


Thus 2010 dawns to vastly altered realities — purse strings have tightened by cautious corporates; big banners are no guarantee for success and may dish out big turkeys instead; marketing and stars don’t sell, a good story does; and the days of astronomical fees are over.


“Audiences are very smart, the content ultimately will guide their choices and approval. Marketing and hype will only work if content supports that hype. We may not have a Blue this year but projects like Veer and Prince are costly and prima facie look difficult in terms of recoveries,’’ says a trade expert.


So when Akshay Kumar, blamed for soaring star prices, announced towards the end of 2009 that he would not charge any fee for Farah Khan’s Tees Maar Khaan, it was a lifeline for the industry that had almost gone into the ICU.


Says Amod Mehra, “It is not that people did not come to watch Akshay Kumar films in 2009, it is just that the budgets of the films were so high and his remuneration was almost 40% of those budgets, so recoveries were not possible despite a good opening. But now that the actors are looking at sharing profit with the producer after the cost of the film has been recovered like in the case of Aamir Khan’s 3 Idiots then it will be fair enough. Cutting down of star prices will definitely reduce the budget of films and they will become viable and that is definitely going to be the trend in 2010.”


The year thankfully doesnt have a Rs 100-crore Blue in its line-up. Last year most production houses scrapped films as star prices were not viable. In fact, it is learnt Saif Ali Khan is reworking the budget of his next film Agent Vinod starring Kareena and himself. In fact, 2010 is short on mega projects as budget constraints ensured very few got on the floors in 2009.


The first biggie of 2010 will be Veer,
followed by Rann, My Name is Khan, Action Replay, Kites and House Full in the first half of the year. The second half of the year would have Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Guzarish and Patiala House.


The action in 2010 seems definitely more in mid-size and multiplex projects that would have strong and clutterbreaking content. “There are a lot of films this year that may not topline the Khans or Hrithik Roshan but still have a decent line-up of names and would be thematically different. Tight budgets and good content seem to be the mantra in the decision making corridors of Bollywood. Each company is carefully evaluating its options and are not getting carried away,’’ says Priti Shahni of Indian Films. Corporates, for instance, have decided to take films only on commission, and not buy them outright.


Shahid Kapoor’s Chance Pe Dance, Striker starring Rang De Basanti’s Siddharth, Aamir Khan Productions’ Peepli Live, Vishal Bharadwaj’s Ishqiya would release in the first half of 2010.


Generation-next too would be making its presence felt with Ranbir Kapoor in Anjana Anjani and Rajneeti, Imran Khan in I Hate Love Stories, Sonam Kapoor in Ayesha, and Deepika Padukone in House Full.


As the record breaking run of 3 Idiots that has spilled over to 2010 has shown, great content along with great pre-release buzz make the perfect mix.


2010: Coming Soon
RAJNEETI (Naseeruddin Shah, Nana Patekar, Ajay Devgn, Katrina Kaif and Ranbir Kapoor) BUDGET: 50 cr


DHOBI GHAT (Aamir Khan, Prateik Babbar) BUDGET: 15 cr


RAAVANA (Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) BUDGET: 50 cr


TEEN PATTI (Amitabh Bachchan, Sir Ben Kingsley) BUDGET: 35 cr


VEER (Salman Khan, Zarine Khan) BUDGET: 50 cr


RANN (Amitabh Bachchan) BUDGET: 25 cr


ISHQIYA (Vidya Balan, Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi) BUDGET: 20 cr


MY NAME IS KHAN (Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol) BUDGET: 50 cr


KITES (Hrithik Roshan, Barbara Mori) BUDGET: 50 cr


ACTION REPLAY (Akshay Kumar, Aishwarya Rai) | BUDGET: 35 cr


GUZAARISH (Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) BUDGET: 50 cr


ANJAANA ANJAANI (Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra) BUDGET: 40 cr


AGENT VINOD (Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor) BUDGET: 40 cr

Figures are an approximate estimation

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By Joginder Tuteja, December 31, 2009 – 16:43 IST

Yesterday, we went across the B-town and found that 3 Idiots was the unanimous choice when it came to the best that 2009 had to offer. The closest contender was Paa while Avatar led from the front when it came to Hollywood flicks. However, it was quite a divided opinion when it came to the worst of 2009. Quite a few names popped up, some big (Delhi 6, Chandni Chowk To China), some small (Dil Bole Hadippa), some relatively unknown (Videsh – Heaven on Earth, Victory) and a few completely irrelevant (Deshdrohi). There was also an emotional angle involved with a filmmaker or two criticizing their own effort (Sikandar). Read on:

Ramesh TauraniVictory, which came at the beginning of the year, stays on to be the worst film of 2009 for me.

Shirish Kunder Shirish Kunder – (Smiles) Yes, there is one movie which is really the worst for me. Still, I can’t name it since it’s been made by people known to me!

Kalki – Worst of the year was Billu (Barber) because it was just a series of music videos and nothing else.

Sajid Khan Sajid Khan – Worst movie of the year was Delhi 6. Really, I had a lot of expectations from the film but it turned out to be such a disappointing fare.

Hasnain Hyderabadwaala – The worst film of 2009 is Dil Bole Hadippa. Really, what were the makers thinking? Audiences were taken for granted that the protagonist out there won’t be able to differentiate between a girl and a boy despite a different physicality and voice.

Jagmohan Mundhra Jagmohan Mundhra – I have to pick two films here – Chandni Chowk To China and Kambakkht Ishq.

Rituparna Sengupta – There is nothing really which is worst for me because every movie has some effort going in there.

Ruslaan MumtazBlue is the worst movie of the year

Piyush Jha Piyush Jha – Even though I directed it, I believe worst film of the year was Sikandar. That’s because no one saw it and the media totally ignored its significance. Perhaps that happened because Sikandar didn’t have stars/big backers/comic entertainment. Whatever is the reason, the fact is Sikandar was ignored, and that is the real truth.

Sonu Sood Sonu Sood – (Smiles) Even as the entire year is through, I still can’t decide on one worst movie. Maybe I have missed it.

Suneel Darshan – 2009 started with its worst film Chandni Chowk to China It was a ‘directionless’ disaster that disrespected the viewer’s sensibility.

Sadaa – You are asking me about the worst film of the year? You know what; there have been so many that I don’t even care to remember.

Boney Kapoor Boney Kapoor – Preity Zinta’s Videsh – Heaven on Earth was the worst that 2009 had to offer.

Robby Grewal – Worst of the lot would be Deshdrohi (the film had a staggered release across 2008 and 2009)

Ananth Mahadevan – If I pick one WORST FILM of the year, I might just stir up a hornet’s nest. For, another one might cry out that it was more deserving. So let sleeping dogs lie!

Aanand L Rai – For me, the worst movie in 2009 was Delhi 6. It was a very fine concept and from a rock solid director. Still, it failed.

Hansika Motwani Hansika Motwani – I don’t really wish to pick and choose the worst film of the year because for me every movie is good. I know what are the kind of difficulties that we actors go through so it would be wrong on my part to say that this or that movie was bad!

Tusshar Kapoor – Worst of 2009 would be all those films that were released during the strike. Ha ha ha!

Kunal Deshmukh Kunal DeshmukhChandni Chowk To China was the worst film of the year. What a waste of effort. They could have done so much with the film but that was not the case to be.

Raksha Mistry – Isn’t it ironical that the first film which I saw in 2009 stays on to be worst for me? I am talking about Chandni Chowk To China. Maybe I was expecting a lot from the film’s association with Warner Bros. But then it neither had any locations of China nor Chandni Chowk. Worse, it had no story!

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

By Joginder Tuteja, December 30, 2009 – 12:16 IST

Kareena Kapoor The likes of Imtiaz Ali, Rajkumar Santoshi, Vishal Bhardwaj, Balki and Prabhu Deva must be feeling disheartened. If only Rajkumar Hirani, Aamir Khan and Co. would have released 3 Idiots a week later, the competition was just amongst the five of them for Love Aaj Kal, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, Kaminey, Paa and Wanted respectively. However, due to the fact that 3 Idiots is a fantastic experience for millions of cine-goers and above all is pretty much fresh in audiences mind, it is the unanimous choice for one and all. Whether it is ‘aam junta’ or industry alike, there is no negative word around this movie. Instead, it has been universally hailed, acclaimed, appreciated and above all respected, which has proved once again that if a film is really well made, all bad blood is forgotten, all negative vibes are kept aside and all competition stays a distance away. Over to the Bollywood folks who (keeping certain exceptions aside) truly believe that 3 Idiots is the film of 2009.

Kareena Kapoor3 Idiots was the best film of 2009.

Sajid Khan – Best movie of the year was Avatar. Reason? It was not a film but an experience.

Shirish Kunder – For the sheer sincerity with which it has been made, 3 Idiots is simply the best by leaps and bound. Aamir has once again proved that he is the ISI mark of good cinema.

Piyush Jha3 Idiots was the best film that 2009 had to offer because it took a very relevant issue and banged home the point. Moreover, the icing on the cake was that it was thoroughly entertaining.

Kalki Koechlin Kalki – Best film of 2009 was Kaminey because it’s a furious and an intelligent film with great performances and music.

Aanand L Rai – For me the best movie in 2009 is 3 Idiots. It boasted of a brilliant screenplay and direction.

Suneel Darshan – 2009 ended on a positive note with two movies – Paa and 3 Idiots. Paa displayed refined performances by Mr. Bachchan and Vidya Balan. On the other hand 3 Idiots is a sincere attempt at entertainment with a soul.

Hasnain Hyderabadwaala – I enjoyed watching Wanted most. It was after a long time that I saw a complete masala film. Total paisa wasool!

Ramesh Taurani – Of course I believe that Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani was the best film of 2009. But so have been 3 Idiots, Paa, Wake Up Sid and Love Aaj Kal. All these films have been hugely entertaining.

Robby Grewal – It’s a one horse race – 3 Idiots.

Sadaa3 idiots was surely the best film of 2009. It was a complete film as it lacked nothing. Moreover, there was some very good message being delivered in an entertaining format.

Vaishali Desai Vaishali Desai – I loved both Avatar and 3 Idiots. Both films belonged to completely different genres. Avatar boasted of some breathtaking special effects and it was an entirely new experience. Whereas 3 Idiots is yet another cult film about the education system from Mr. Hirani.

Raksha Mistry – Call it ironical but the best of 2009 came at the very end. Yes, I am talking about 3 Idiots which is not just the best of 2009 but also one of the finest movies ever in all aspects.

Boney Kapoor – I have heard great things about 3 Idiots but I haven’t seen it yet. Of course Wanted was a complete package as it brought back the concept of hero, something which was in vogue years back when Amitabh Bachchan used to play such characters. Somehow such cinema had become extinct. Amongst other films, I also loved Love Aaj Kal. It’s entire approach was very fresh and everybody performed well. Its music was superb. The film was as mainstream as it gets and was a good blend of the old charm and new thinking. Even Paa was quite exciting. After a really long time came an Amitabh Bachchan film where he could showcase his talent. It was a neat and clean movie that really moved me. Moreover, in spite of having a sad tale on the surface, it was tackled in a very lighter vein. It reminded me of Hrisihikesh Mukherjee at his peak. Watching the film gave me the same feeling as I had when I watched Anand. Since Amitabh Bachchan’s effort didn’t show in the film, that itself reflects that how great an actor he is. Really, Imtiaz and Balki are two filmmakers to look out for. From Hollywood, it was Avatar all the way. I can’t think of a better movie visually. In fact it would take a really long time for anyone to match it technically; it has surpassed all films where technical wizardry and visual appeal is concerned. All the special effects have been taken to a different level altogether with Avatar.

Ken Ghosh – I am on a jury for an award, so I can’t really quote around the best or the worst of the year

Rohit Shetty – Best film of the year is 3 Idiots for sure. It makes you feel so good and happy after watching it.

Jagmohan Mundhra3 Idiots was the best movie of 2009.

Tanushree Dutta Tanushree Dutta – For me, the best films of 2009 would be 3 Idiots and Avatar.

Ruslaan MumtazKaminey was the best film of the year along with 3 Idiots

Sujoy Ghosh – I haven’t seen 3 Idiots but I’ll go with Paa. It’s a film which made me feel very good about life. It’s a film which took some of my fears away. It’s a film which taught me to look at different things normally. I really appreciated that. It’s a film which didn’t try to squeeze my balls for emotions. And of course Mr. Bachchan, Vidya, Balki, Illayaraja and P.C. Sreeram made it all possible.

Sophie Choudry – According to me, 2009 was filled with below par cinema both in Hollywood and Bollywood. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed 3 Idiots, Kaminey and Paa. They were all brilliantly made films.

Urvashi SharmaBaabarr is one of my favourite films from 2009 but I think 3 Idiots has broken all the records and is the best Hindi film of the year. From Hollywood, I loved both The Hangover and Avatar.

Kunal Deshmukh – I loved Avatar because it educates us to think ahead and learn so much. And of course 3 Idiots, as we all know today, is a fabulous movie. It brought home a message without shoving it down your throat.

Tusshar Kapoor Ananth Mahadevan – Though Paa and 3 Idiots are what I would define as ideal mainstream cinema (they made cine-going a pleasure after what seemed ages), if one has to select a film, my choice would be Nandita Das’ Firaaq. The four stories were moving accounts of the aftermath of human folly fuelled by political insanity. The critical eye may pick a few bones of contention, but the film was relevant, urgent, well enacted and most importantly, credibly treated.

Tusshar Kapoor – Which movie is best for me in 2009? Obviously, there is going to be just one answer – 3 Idiots.

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

SMILES AHEAD: BT shot Akshay Kumar exclusively on the sets of Khatta Meetha

Akshay Kumar in his avatar as the Common Man

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; January 1, 2010)

The last decade in Bollywood has primarily been dominated by three Khans (Shah Rukh, Aamir and Salman) and one Kumar (Akshay). And even as his brand equity is at an all-time high, Akshay Kumar’s business plan in the new year is to take his banner Hari Om Production (HOP) to greater heights.


The banner which is a late bloomer, swung into action with Waqt — The Race Against Time in 2005, but has already notched up hits like Namastey London, Singh is Kinng, the entertaining grosser De Dana Dan, and is now ready for its next three productions — Priyadarshan’s Khatta Meetha, Farah Khan’s Tees Maar Khan and Nikhil Advani’s Patiala House.

Says Priyan, a close associate of Akshay and the HOP, “Khatta Meetha is a satire on the system. It is about the road-mafia which is prevalent all over but more so in Bihar and eastern UP. The main plot line is inspired by R K Laxman’s famous common man. Based on a true incident, this film unveils the travesty of the common man. I have made this film in Malayalam earlier and it was wonderfully received. I’m sure it will be a winner in Hindi too.’’ Both Hari Om Productions and Akshay will move by leaps and bounds in 2010. While the banner will have two releases in Khatta Meetha and Tees Maar Khan, the actor will also be seen in Sajid Nadiadwala’s Houseful and Vipul Shah’s Action Replayy. Of course, it is not all work and no play for this superstar. He is currently on vacation in Goa with his family. Asked what was uppermost on his mind when the clock struck 12, he says, “I sincerely want 2010 to be a year of peace and harmony. I wish BT readers a Happy New Year.’’

Rewinding to his recent Canada trip where he represented India at the Winter Olympics, the superstar says, “I can’t tell you what a proud moment it was when I was handed the Olympic Torch in Canada. It was very moving. In my opinion films and sports are the two passions that can bind any nation.’’ Having talked about his moment of glory on foreign soil, Akki adds, “I’m proud that New Delhi is the chosen destination for the Commonwealth Games. I pray for peace because I want this sporting event to go off really smooth. I want the world to know that India is safe and capable of hosting an event of this magnitude. As a true sports lover this is something uppermost on my mind.’’

Saturday 26th December 2008 09.00 IST

Boxofficeindia.Com Trade Network

Three Idiots created a sensation at multiplexes by recording the best opening ever at multiplexes as the first day recorded 95-100% collections on heavy volume. Good single screens were also very good with some some B+C single screens being a bit lower though this will not affect overall collections as multiplexes and major single screens have high collections. The reports are very good and the film is a winner all the way and just remains to be seen if it can do blockbuster business.

Avatar did very well over first week as it grossed around 26 crore nett in all languages. The English version is better than dubbed versions.

Rocket Singh – Salesman Of The Year fell in week two as it recorded around 4.50 crore nett collections to take its two week total to 20 crore nett. BELOW AVERAGE

Paa was rock steady in week three with around 4.75 crore nett taking its three week total to nearly 29 crore nett. SEMI HIT

The 3D movie Avatar may have raked in millions at the box-office worldwide, but the quality of 3D glasses in city multiplexes is getting worse by the day

By Kunal Guha (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 23, 2009)


The cash registers are ringing in merry money – a good Rs 22 crore in box office receipts in India alone for the opening weekend – and Avatar is turning out to be one of those word-of-mouth monster hits. But movie-goers are complaining about the kaaniya quality of the 3D spectacles being provided at theatres.

The complaints are many: from slipping off the nose to the fingerprints of the spectator’s former avatar. Thirty-three-year-old software professional Sameer Gharat narrates his experience of watching Avatar at Imax, Wadala: “The 3D glasses offered to me ruined my movie-watching experience to say the least. They were uncomfortable to wear as they only had a one-size-fits-all.

A still from the movie Avatar

Also, I was required to take off my own spectacles to wear the 3D glasses as they wouldn’t sit atop my own. Being a bit big in size, they would sit very low on the nose, while most people prefer the bridge of the specs to be at the top of the nose. Also, you generally tend to focus on the middle part of the screen. But if you look to the corner of the screen, your line of vision strays out of the frame, ruining the 3D experience.”

With the number of 3D movies that have released this year, one would expect multiplexes to be better equipped to nip such issues in the bud. But glasses slipping off and the uncomfortable experience are not the only issues.

Nandita Singh, a 26-year-old software professional who watched Avatar at the same theatre, suffered from the problem of lack of clarity. “I was forced to tilt my head to either side and this got my vision blurred and felt like I wasn’t wearing 3D glasses at all. Also, the 3D glasses weren’t hygienic and I had to clean the dirty fingerprints smeared all over its film.”

A 3D movie offers much more than an average movie with respect to overall viewing experience. But the pleasure of this experience can be hampered if the 3D glasses are of sub-standard quality or aren’t maintained regularly.

Twenty-nine-year-old training manager Mala Banerji, who saw the extravagant 3D movie at Big Cinemas at R City Mall, Ghatkopar, shares her woes, “The 3D glasses they gave were too big and were slipping off my face and I had to hold on to them throughout the movie.

Also, I could see through the gap between the glasses from either side, so it was distracting. This killed the movie for me as I couldn’t concentrate and you need to be totally engrossed in a movie like this to truly enjoy it.”

However, a source from 20th Century Fox, who did not wish to be named, rubbished the claims. “Our responsibility is restricted to delivering a clean finished product, which is what Avatar is. The 3D glasses and 3D projector is something that the exhibitors hire. It is their responsibility and they should take care to maintain them. Glasses need to be cleaned.

Defective glasses need to be replaced. If these precautions are not taken, you will have the odd complaint,” said the source.

IT’S TIME TO REJOICE!

Although 2009 is considered as a black year for Bollywood, the last 3 ½ months have proved to be profitable not only for producers, distributors and exhibitors but also for viewers. There were at least half a dozen commercially successful films like Wanted, Wake Up Sid, All The Best, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, De Dana Dan and Paa. Also, flops like Dil Bole Hadippa, What’s Your Raashee?, Do Knot Disturb, Blue, London Dreams, Tum Mile, Kurbaan etc did manage to bring audiences to theatres in its first 3 days of release. Also, we got two Hollywood blockbusters, 2012 and Avatar. And tomorrow’s release 3 Idiots is expected to be the biggest hit of 2009. This Aamir Khan flick is been given one of the widest releases. If all turns out to be well, 3 Idiots may become the biggest blockbuster ever, breaking even Ghajini’s record (which at present is the biggest Bollywood hit).

People are coming to theatres. So many movies are running successfully. Unfortunately, no is celebrating it and no trade analyst is coming forward to discuss about it. Ironically, during bad times, every producers, distributor and trade pundits will come forward and state as to ‘how our industry is going through a crisis’. Somehow, we have become more negative in our approach. We love to live in bad times! Come on guys, pop the champagne and enjoy the good time!

TICKET RATES INCREASED FOR 3 IDIOTS


Watching 3 Idiots shall turn out to be an expensive affair. Knowing that people are going to come for sure to watch this Aamir Khan flick, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and the distributors of the film have urged multiplexes and single screens across the country to increase the ticket rates for 3 Idiots. Even morning shows which had a meager price of Rs 60 or 80 is now sold for 160 or 180 and even 200 bucks. A prominent multiplex in South Mumbai (Inox, Nariman Point) takes away the cake by charging Rs 290 for the 11:30 am show! And for the evening and night shows, the least said, the better!

Surprisingly, hardly any Bollywood intellectuals have spoken against this unfair practice. All of them are concerned only with the problem of piracy. Why? Because it concerns them-they face huge losses because of pirated DVDs. And they don’t need to care for the inflated ticket prices since they can either afford it or they get to see films free of cost in preview screenings!

But all of them have failed to see the point that one of the biggest reasons for piracy is the expensive ticket rates. Reducing the ticket prices will automatically reduce piracy to a certain extent. But instead of applying this idea, ticket rates are increasing, thus giving a boost to piracy. Producers and distributors are only concerned with extracting maximum profits. And when viewers shun theatres due to high prices, they will again come up with ‘industry going through crisis’ stuff when the fact is that they only created the situation in the first place! Very very sad!

This post first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/diary/chfdltslp/Fenils-Bollywood-Talk80


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