Gather round, gather round, gather round my lovely junta. What an eventful year this has been! A strike between the producers and the multiplex’s meant that there were no released for a period of approximately 4 months earlier this year. The Industry suffered. The junta suffered. Then there was a global meltdown! The Industry suffered some more. The junta suffered even more. Then there were signs of recovery — the economy picked up and the industry called off the strike. With a release practically every week, the Industry–walle were khush and the junta was even more khush. As a result, the chart for the top grossing films this year is a little more interesting than normal with a couple of surprises in the mix.
So Ladies and Gentlemen, in reverse order I give you the top ten box office grossers for 2009.
Starring — Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Dutt, Suneil Shetty, Rahul Dev, Zayed Khan, Katrina Kaif, Lara Dutta,
Director — Anthony D’Souza
Producer — Dhilin Mehta
Music — AR Rahman
Release Date — 16th October 2009
A multi–star cast, a Rs 125 crore budget, a guest appearance by Kylie Minogue and extensive shooting completed in the Bahamas. It had seemed that debutant director Anthony D’Souza struck gold. Blue, like every Akshay Kumar release, got its fair share of media attention – the item song performed by Kylie, Blue being India’s first ever under water film, the fact that it was widely panned by the critics. Well, you can’t please everyone I guess.
Blue received mostly negative reviews. Though the film was beautifully directed the critics seemed to agree on one fact, Blue was nothing more than a slick action film, with a weak plot, and inconsistent performances from the actors being some of the gripes mentioned.
BollySpice’s Kara Baer gave Blue 3/5 stars saying that “Blue is a lot of fun and if you are an action junkie, you will not be disappointed” where as Noyon Jyoti Parasara from AOL who gave the film 2 star out of 5 concluding, “Blue does not translate into anything great… While the first half does not make sense and refuses to move, the suspense that is supposed to be the factor that holds the story turns too weak.”
Taran Adarsh was a little more generous with his positive review of the film, praising the star cast and action scenes.
Whatever the reviews, the junta spoke and has landed this film at number 10 in our charts.
9. Kambakkht Ishq
Starring — Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor, Aftab Shivdasani, Amrita Arora
Director — Sabbir Khan
Producer — Sajid Nadiadwala
Music — Anu Malik
Release Date — 3rd July 2009
A film that was besieged with negative reviews is our number 9. Kambakkht Ishq. Kumar’s third release this year is a remake of Tamil film Pammal K. Sambandam. Slated for a 2008 release but postponed due to extensive production work, Kambakkht Ishq was surrounded by curiosity due to the cameo performances in the film by Hollywood actors Sylvester Stallone, Denise Richards and Brandon Routh, and thus was promoted as an international love story on a lavish scale
Kambakkht Ishq‘s box office story is quite interesting. Advance bookings for Kambakkht Ishq officially commenced from June 28 onwards to positive response from the public with the film grossing over Rs 1 crore from its 125 advanced paid previews. On 3 July 2009, the film opened to a bumpier response of 90-100% all over India giving the film a first day total of Rs 8.50 crore with the film emerging as the second biggest opening day gross of all time for a Bollywood film. For its opening weekend in India, Kambakkht Ishq accumulated a total of Rs 24.50 crores from 1,400 screens. At the end of its first week, it collected a total of Rs 35.95 crore. However, by its second week at the box office, the film showed a 70% drop in its collections. Interesting?? I think so.
Noyon Jyoti Parasara from AOL India concluded, “The film has nothing going for it. It has a worryingly bad script, horrible screenplay, traumatising dialogues and unpleasant music.” Parasara further explained, “Kambakkht Ishq is a shame when it comes to watching Indian films on the world stage.” On the other hand Taran Adarsh of IndiaFM described Kambakkht Ishq as a film that would “strike a chord with the youth and those who relish zany and madcap entertainers”. He praised the performances, direction and writing, noting that the film would “see an earth-shattering opening weekend and a historic Week 1,” which he was right about.
Roshni Mulchandani reviewed the film for BollySpice giving a 2 out of 5 and stating the film would run as it “encompasses many of the traits that are required for a successful film: a good-looking popular actor who will jump off buildings, a snooty actress dressed to kill, and great scenes and sights. Check, check and check. For the lower stall-wallas, this is a field day while the more intelligent masses may choose to walk out midway or avoid this one completely.”
8. De Dana Dan
Starring — Akshay Kumar, Suneil Shetty, Katrina Kaif, Neha Dhupia
Director — Priyadarshan
Producer — Maham Shah
Music — Pritam
Release Date — 27th November 2009
An all out comedy Priyadarshan’s latest offering De Dana Dan is said to be a follow up and not a sequel to the Hera Pheri series. De Dana Dan was supposed to be the launch pad for South Actress Asin however, director Priyadarshan decided to cast Katrina Kaif saying she suited the role as the script became clearer.
De Dana Dan saw the Hera Pheri team reunite after a brief break from each other. Production began on 27th November, 2008 and was shot in a single two-month long schedule in Singapore.
Roshni Mulchandi reviewed the film for BollySpice saying, “If you enjoy ‘leave your brain at home’ comedies, then De Dana Dan is for you. The music is fun as are the one-liner dialogues which are two other reasons to watch the movie. Watch De Dana Dan if you’re missing the Hera Pheri crew,” and gave the film 2.5 out of a possible 5.
Classified as a hit, De Dana Dan averaged a 75% opening on the first day with a taking of Rs 34 crores within the first week, which is why this Priyadarshan offering is sitting pretty at number 8.
Starring — Shahid Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Amol Gupte
Director — Vishal Bharadwaj
Producer — Ronnie Screwwala
Music — Vishal Bharadwaj
Release Date — 14th August 2009
‘Dhan Te Na’ has become synonymous with Omkara director Vishal Bharadwaj’s summer release, Kaminey. A dark comedy, which had actor Shahid Kapoor in a double role for the first time, experienced issues with the censor board over certification but received high critical acclaim on release.
With mostly positive reviews, Kaminey opened to an excellent response with attendance averaging around 90% on the first day. Kaminey was well receiveds in overseas market especially North America with the net taking reaching Rs 88 crore (US$ 18.13 million).
Film critic Raja Sen of Rediff gave the film a never-before 4.5/5 rating, and said, “So the film leaps through implied ultraviolence and dark humour and you hold on, exhilarated — just as you have through, say, Guy Ritchie’s Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels. And while that itself would be no mean feat, Bhardwaj ups the ante with an audacious climax, suddenly bringing emotions right to the fore. And while films of this ilk are full of disposable-bodies and corpses-in-waiting, one discovers that Vishal has — sneakily, stealthily, surreptitiously — kept the sentiments so darned real that by the time the climax rolls around, you do actually give a damn about these characters. Wow now if that isn’t kameenapan, I don’t know what is. Awefome.”
BollySpice’s Roshni Mulchandani gave this Bharadwaj offering 4 out of 5 stars. “As I walked out of the cinema in a complete trance, all I could say was, WOW! There are only a handful of directors who can direct a film which is not only dark but entertaining; and only Vishal could pull this one off. The film lives up to its exclusive reputation,” she stated.
6. All The Best
Starring — Ajay Devgn, Fardeen Khan, Mugdha Godse, Bipasha Basu, Sanjay Dutt
Director — Rohit Shetty
Producer — Ajay Devgan
Music — Pritam
Release Date — Oct 16 2009
All The Best was Rohit Shetty’s Diwali offering to the cinema going audience. A comedy resulting from a case of mistaken identities and mishaps, Shetty not only provided one of the year’s hit films but also managed to break a record set by him with the title song ‘All The Best’.
All The Best experienced a low opening initially with audiences of 30-35% at the multiplexes and about 95% at single screens. Gaining popularity through word of mouth, the film went on to gross 62.5 crores with its run at the box office. Kara Baer of BollySpice commented, “All The Best: Fun Begins certainly isn’t the most original or insanely hilarious film you will ever see but it is a fun and cheerful comedy and, sometimes, that is all you need,” giving this Devgn production 3/5 stars.
With rumors abound of Shetty already working on All The Best 2, I hope he doesn’t write out 15 climaxes like he did the first time round. And you never know — next year he may feature in the list twice with the possibility of Golmaal 3 also being in the pipeline.
5. New York
Starring — John Abraham, Katrina Kaif, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Irfan Khan.
Director — Kabir Khan
Producer — Aditya Chopra, Aashish Singh
Music — Pritam
Release Date — 26th June 2009
New York was director Kabir Khan’s second Bollywood film following the release of Kabul Express. New York was a story that covered a nine year period in the lives of three friends. Set against the political background of 9/11, the film illustrated a pre and post 9/11 world. Given the full support of the New York Film Commission, New York released worldwide to critical acclaim. The production began in September 2008 with filming lasting 100 days. Though most of the shoot took place in New York, some of the scenes were actually shot in Philadelphia, with special permission sought to shoot in Guantanamo Bay.
According to NASDAQ, New York grossed a record Rs 350 million during its first three days in India, with theaters at their highest occupancy since January at 80-85%, ranking number one in its first week in India.
New York was well received by a number of critics. Subhash K. Jha gave the film a rave review arguing that New York “is what cinema in contemporary times should be, must be, though it seldom is.” Nikhat Kazmi of the Times of India gave it four out of four stars, describing New York as “an extremely taut and highly emotive piece of political drama… topical, meaningful, and entertaining, all at the same time.”
New York received mixed reviews from other critics. Rachel Saltz of The New York Times states: “While Mr. Khan’s depictions of American life occasionally seem silly and the plot has some crater-size holes, New York is continually fascinating. It benefits from the performance of Irrfan Khan, who adds layers of complexity to his character.”
Roshni Mulchandani, who reviewed New York for BollySpice, was full of praise and said, “If I had to give you three reasons to watch New York, they would include the following: Firstly because it is a tale of friends who deal with modern day racism in perhaps its worst form. Secondly, because the performances are absorbing. And lastly because you need to. It is very rare that Bollywood juts out a movie which talks about real problems, real issues and real situations. But when they do, they do it with great