The last weeks of 2002 brought some cheer for the film industry when both Sanjay Gupta's Kaante and Shaad Ali's Saathiya made decent profits. It also proved that the films released at end of a year do well at the boxoffice. Suneel Darshan's Jaanwar in 1999 and N Chandra's Style in 2002 are two examples.
This year Talaash was expected to rework the magic of the Akshay Kumar-Suneel Darshan combination in Jaanwar and Ek Rishta:The Bond Of Love. The movie proved a no-show and verified the industry's belief that films released in the first few weeks of the year don't do well at the box-office. Last year, Mahesh Manjrekar's Pitaah bit dust in the first week of January.
Talaash is expected to make profits in some North Indian states, but its overall performance is miserable. Says director Darshan, "I realise I slipped up with the script. We learn from our mistakes. I won't disappoint audiences with my forthcoming films Andaz and Mere Jeevan Saathi."
The other film Tujhe Meri Kasam was a very big success in its original Telugu version, Nuvve Kaavali. The same director K Vijaya Bhaskar was assigned the Hindi remake. The formula did not work, thereby putting a question mark on South Indian remakes.
Trade experts say the future of South Indian remakes depends, to a large extent, on S J Suryah's remake of his own Tamil and Telugu blockbuster Khushi, which opens at the end of the month. Producer Boney Kapoor has spared no expenses to ensure that Khushi works in Hindi.
With a central performance by Kareena Kapoor, Khushi is now being looked at as being the potential first success of 2003. The film could be the silver lining in what has started as a bleak year for the film industry.
Anubhav Sinha's comic look at possessive parenthood Aap Ko Pehle Bhi Kahin Dekha Hai was a failure. All eyes are now glued on Jism and Dil Ka Rishta.
Next week's two releases, Ekta Kapoor's campus horror Kucch To Hai and E Niwas' Dum exude energy and polish.