The first Friday of the New Year brings with it hope for the Hindi film industry.
Sanjay Gupta'sKaante -- last year's last big release -- is said to have fared better than most recent Hindi films.
"Everyone feels Talaash will be the first success of 2003," says the film's leading manAkshay Kumar, ignoring the industry belief that films released in the first few weeks of each year are doomed.
Talaash (left)may prove another winner for director Suneel Darshan and Akshay Kumar after their two earlier successes -- Jaanwar (the film that revived Akshay's career three years ago) and Ek Rishtaa: The Bond Of Love (which brought him recognition as an actor).
Talaashis considered a safe bet, keeping in mind the film's USPs -- Akshay-Kareena Kapoor, fast-paced plot and Akshay's slick stunts. The film is expected to do well in North India where audiences love fireworks and dramatics.
If the Suneel-Akshay combo works again, distributors may buy the duo's fourth film together, Andaz (produced by Suneel, directed by Raj Kanwar and costarring former Miss World Priyanka Chopra and former Miss Universe Lara Dutta), and the fifth Mere Jeevan Saathi (directed by Suneel Darshan, this film finds Akshay sandwiched between Karisma Kapoor and Amisha Patel).Ritesh Deshmukh and Genelia d'Souza make their acting debuts in the other Friday release Tujhe Meri Kasam (right). The movie has created a pre-release buzz in Maharashtra where rural audiences may want to see Chief Minister Vilas Deshmukh's son Ritesh play a lover boy in a remake of the Telugu superhit Nuvve Kaavali.
Deepa Mehta'sBollywood/Hollywood is the odd one out this week. In this Canadian hit, Rahul Khanna plays a Casanova who hires a 'girlfriend' (Lisa Ray) after his mom (Moushumi Chatterjee) insists on his marriage.
To be released in English and Hindi, Bollywood/Hollywood is the fourth film after Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding, Revathi's Mitr: My Friend and Gurinder Chadha's Bend It Like Beckham to be marketed in India by dreams Productions. CEO Ashish Bhatnagar says it isn't the company's conscious decision to seek out female directors. "But women are doing great work with Indian themes and characters." iDreams also marketed Arjun Sajnani's costume dramaAgni Varsha.