Seven years ago, a new decade in Bollywood began and with every new decade comes a new style of filmmaking and fresh storylines. Although this decade is not yet complete and we can’t be sure what the next three years will bring, one thing is certain; 2006 was the best year of Bollywood in a long time! It saw so many movies, so many different ideas coming to life, so many off-beat movies, so much of everything and anything you can think of. It will truly be a year that goes down in history.
The trend in 2006 was that films that had high expectations generally did well, which isn’t always the case. The biggest money spinners were movies like Krrish, Lage Raho Munnabhai, Dhoom 2, Fanaa, and Rang De Basanti. At the same time, some off-beat and low budget films also became successful such as Gangster, Pyaar Ke Side Effects, Golmaal and not to mention the biggest shock of 2006, Vivah. With all these hits we also had some films that disappointed at the box office, but the quality of these films were enough to give them a firm position (Omkara, Dor, Umrao Jaan). Such an eventful year and so many rising stars, but unfortunately 2006 didn’t last forever. Eventually on January 1st, 2007 we had to bid farewell to the amazing year gone by and look forward to a new year. With such a great year behind us we only expected it to get brighter in 2007.
Well who knows about the “brighter” part, but we can clearly see that so far, after three months, 2007 seems to be a complete turnaround from 2006. The trend of 2007 is “expect the unexpected”. While in 2006 the expected money spinners actually did rake in a lot, in 2007 the movies expected to do well are doing poorly and the small/low budget movies are becoming successful. The trend first started with Mani Ratnam’s Guru being declared a super hit, which was unexpected as nobody thought Guru would be able to strike a chord at the box office since period films generally don’t do too well. Of course, everyone thought that if a movie like Guru can work at the box office, so can Salaam-e-Ishq which stars practically half of Bollywood (Try this: Pick 10 stars and you are guaranteed that two starred in SEI!). However, Bollywood ain’t that predictable. The movie bombed. Yes, that’s right. Despite having big names like Anil Kapoor, Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra and John Abraham, the movie still failed and barely reached an “average” status. Not only was the movie rejected, but some may call it the most hated Bollywood movie ever. Even biased fans of the cast were disappointed, and that’s saying a lot.
The next major release was Eklavya, or at least that’s what it was called before it was released. Eventually, it became the second major failure of the year to join Salaam-e-Ishq. Again, big names like Amitabh Bachchan and Saif Ali Khan failed to get audiences into theatres. To maker matters more interesting, a low budget film titled Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. (which barely had expectations) is actually doing decent business and receiving a good word of mouth.
So far in 2007 there have been two films that can be called a success; Guru and Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. Who would’ve thought that an article would be written one day that states Guru has exceeded SEI and Honeymoon Travels is shining brighter than Eklavya. Our industry is truly the most unpredictable.
By the way things seem to be going, it seems like the small movies will bounce higher than the big films and emerge as winners. If you really think about it, this is a good thing because it’s high time we promote quality cinema in Bollywood rather than simply star quality. For how much longer will we make films like Don or Dhoom hits? If anything can help progress our society, it’s our cinema. So although 2007 may be a complete departure from 2006 it seems like it will benefit our industry more in the long run. At least, that’s what it seems like. For now, we must wait another 7 or 8 months to see what’s in store.