2009 gets off to a great start!

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If the first month of the New Year is anything to go by, it looks like 2009 will be a great year for Bollywood. Despite Chandni Chowk to China emerging as a royal disaster, several other films have worked quite well, proving that even with the economic downturn, the film industry is thriving for the most part.

At the same time last year, we had five flops with Sunday managing the best business of the lot. One of the first releases of the year, The President is Coming, may not have set the box office on fire but it proved that Bollywood comedy is certainly coming of age. With an ensemble cast including Konkona Sen Sharma, the film struck a chord with the multiplex audience.

On a more sombre note, the one film that was expected to storm the box office fell flat. After countless international premieres building up to its January 16th release date, Chandni Chowk to China simply could not do the trick and will definitely go down as one of the worst-reviewed films of the year when we look back on 2009 in several months. The film has hurt everyone involved, but mostly Akshay Kumar who has been criticized for his continuous involvement in comedy films and letting down his faithful audience. Of course, everyone is allowed a few stumbles here and there and we’re sure Akshay will be back and better than ever with his next release!

In addition to CC2C, other flops of the month include Bad Luck Govind, Kaash Mere Hote and the recent Victory.

The Bhatt’s thriller Raaz – The Mystery Continues is on its way to emerging a solid hit around India. Its success will only encourage filmmakers to continue experimenting within the horror genre, after Phoonk and 1920 rekindling interest in the genre last year. Kangana Ranaut is being hailed for yet another superlative performance while the dependable Emraan Hashmi walks away with yet another winner on his hands. Not to mention the excellent soundtrack which is earning large dividends for the producers! Are you ready for Raaz 3?

This week’s release, Luck By Chance, has opened slow but glowing reviews are likely to cause numbers to jump in the next few days. Zoya Akhtar’s debut film is being hailed as one of the best debuts of all time while the cast continues to be lauded for excellent performances. While it’s won over critics, let’s hope it’s lucky at the box office as well!

Riding high off the success of it’s international dream run and 10 Academy Award nominations, Slumdog Millionaire has also been released in English as well as a dubbed Hindi version. It’s managed to do fairly well, with the English version holding up strongly in most multiplexes. The dubbed version, however, hasn’t done as well. Nevertheless, the film has been praised by audiences and critics alike.

Unlike last year where we witnessed zero successes, critical or commercial, this year has left most Bollywood fans fairly hopeful for a great year ahead. Let’s take this month’s success as a sign of good things to come!

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