Box Office Report Card: The Hits So Far
With the first part of the year whizzing past, it's time to take stock of Bollywood's hits, misses and surprises.
The year opened on a positive note with films like No One Killed Jessica, Yamla Pagla Deewana and Dhobi Ghat raking in good business.
Trade experts assert the year has been a mixed bag so far, with the Salman Khan-powered Ready emerging as the biggest blockbuster so far. In a three part series, here's our first on the hits that rocked the ticket counters
Riding high on the success of last year's Dabangg, Salman Khan-starrer Ready opened with great expectations. Although ripped apart by critics, Ready -- despite being low on content -- went on to storm the box office.
Trade analyst Atul Mohan solely credits the superstar for its fantastic business, "Salman's magic was the only reason for its success because he was coming after Dabangg and the two chartbusters only added to the success.
"Another thing that went in its favour was that the film created the right hype before the release and Salman promoted it whole-heartedly," he added.
Image: A still from Ready
Slapstick works. And how!
There's no greater proof of this than Indra Kumar's sequel to Dhamaal which contained infinitely better jokes. But never mind. Sparing nobody right from taking potshot at Sanjay Leela Bhansali 's Guzaarish to doing spoofs on popular actors Double Dhamaal clicked big-time.
Critics, as usual, extended a ferocious thumb-down but in theatres, the audience went berserk with laughter. Atul feels the brand Dhamaal helped its sequel. "The marketing marred the films prospects," he says, adding, "I couldn't figure out why Reliance (Entertainment) went in for low-key marketing for this one. Had the promotion been better, the film would have raked in more for sure."
Image: A still from Double Dhamaal
Yamla Pagla Deewana
The first outing of the Deols since Apne, this enjoyable comedy had all the right ingredients and expectedly, it made the moolah. Taran Adarsh, trade analyst, points out that it's a misconception that the film fared well only in North India.
"It was a success across India. I think it was the Deol magic that worked. They made a good film and the film's success proves that the Deols are very much relevant today," he says.
Atul adds, "The film's promotion made the audience curious to check out what's in store for them and they came back thoroughly enjoying it."
Image: A still from Yamla Pagla Deewana
Tanu Weds Manu
Buoyed by critical acclaim, the Madhavan-Kangna pairing surprised everyone. It conjured the small-time feel excellently with a fabulous soundtrack one has seen in a long time.
According to the trade, Tanu Weds Manu's success lies in its soul.
Says Atul, "The marriage season continued with this one (Band Baaja Baraat started it last year) and the hit music contributed immensely."
Taran agrees, "It was a combination of excellent music and a good script."
Image: A still from Tanu Weds Manu
No One Killed Jessica
The first hit of the year, this Rani Mukerji-Vidya Balan starrer backed by the sheer girl power, took up the issue of the Jessica Lall murder case. Riding on a wave of positive word-of-mouth, the Raj Kumar Gupta-directed drama wowed the audience.
Atul believes that happened because it tackled an issue which was gaining so much support across the country and that the film couldn't have come at a more appropriate time. Made on a budget of Rs 9 crore, No One Killed Jessica combined hard-hitting message with entertainment.
Image: A still from No One Killed Jessica
Of late, Ekta Kapoor seems to be acquired that great gift of choosing the right projects. Inspired by the monster hit Paranormal Activity, Ragini MMS featured unknown names yet this small-budget thriller managed to make its mark.
Taran maintains it was just na inventive idea and Ekta and her director Pawan Kripalani executed that idea really well.
Says Atul, "Balaji (Ekta's film production company) continued the strategy adopted during Love Sex Aur Dhokha and churned out another steamy success. Only this time they hiked the budget in marketing and it paid off more than expected."
Image: A still from Ragini MMS
In the season of spook, Haunted emerged a surprise winner. Vikram Bhatt's scare-fest in 3D had the audience lapping it up. Yet again, despite not having any big draw (it starred Mimoh, Mithun Chakraborty's son who had earlier been written off in Jimmy) the film did reasonably well.
Taran says it's the horror factor: "It was edgy and catered to the taste of today's audience. The 3D effects were used quite well."
Image: A still from Haunted
Meant to be a relaunch vehicle for sonny Jackky, money-bags Vashu Bhagnani's campus caper didn't turn out to be such a hopeless exercise after all. The song, Char Baj Gaye, gave the film a much-needed, pre-release push.
"The youth factor played an important role," says Taran, emphasising that if coming-of-age films are made well, there's a high possibility of box office success.
Adds Atul, "It contained hit music, was made on a relatively low-budget and of course Vashu Bhagnani's marketing acumen benefited it the most at the end of it all."
Image: A still from F.A.L.T.U
Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji
Madhur Bhandarkar, known for his realistic take, loosened up a bit to make his first comedy.
Inspired by the films of Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji was expected to carry forward their legacy. While it invited mixed reviews from the press, its box office collections weren't that bad.
According to Taran, Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji worked because of its feel-good aspect. "It was a slice-of-life film in the tradition of the Hrishida movies and it did bring in some cheer."
Image: A still from Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji
Wife Kiran Rao's debut, bunching together the lives of different individuals and how it collides, Dhobi Ghat upon its release instantly wowed the critics. It was somehow expected to draw praise from the press but there were doubts whether the film would work business-wise.
However, strong, positive word spread around like a wild fire making Dhobi Ghat a sound commercial prospect. Aamir's belief in his projects -- no matter however experimental -- proved that it is films from the heart that work.
Image: A still from Dhobi Ghat