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Why Bollywood LOVES reincarnation dramas

By Joginder Tuteja
Last updated on: April 08, 2015 18:37 IST
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Sunny Leone in Ek Paheli Leela

They make good money, of course!

Reincarnation tales have been often told in Hindi cinema, and most of them have been quite successful.

Sunny Leone will bring us yet another such tale, in her upcoming film, Ek Paheli Leela.

Set in a 300-year-old story, the film -- described as a musical dramatic thriller -- has Sunny in a double role and also stars four male characters played by Rajniesh Duggall, Jay Bhanushali, Mohit Ahlawat and Rahul Dev.

Ahead of the film's Friday release, here's a lowdown at previous Hindi films that dealt with rebirths and how they performed at the box office:

Om Shanti Om (2007)

Image: Shah Rukh Khan in Om Shanti Om.

Box office collection: Rs 80 crore

Shah Rukh Khan and newcomer Deepika Padukone played double roles in Farah Khan's reincarnation musical love story.

The film's irreverent tone --  it was more an ode to Bollywood's retro era than an reincarnation story -- and SRK's star power may have been the big reasons behind its bumper business at the box office. 

Hameshaa (1997)

Image: Saif Ali Khan and Kajol in Hameshaa.

Box office collection: Rs 2 crore

When Saif Ali Khan and Kajol came together for Hameshaa, it was believed that the film was destined for box office glory.

While Anu Malik's songs were a hit, director Sanjay Gupta's stylised treatment lent much weight to the film.

Despite having everything in its favour, the film flopped.

Karan Arjun (1995)

Image: Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan in Karan Arjun.

Box office collection: Rs 32 crore

Rakesh Roshan's attempt at the much tried and tested theme turned out to be fruitful.

His lead stars -- Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Kajol, Mamta Kulkarni and Raakhi -- were a hoot to watch.

Armed with popular Bollywood masala -- action, melodrama, romance -- the film was a blockbuster, and won over the audience.

Kudrat (1981)

Image: Movie poster of Kudrat.

Box office collection: Rs 2 crore

Another anticipated film of its time -- directed by Chetan Anand and starring heavyweights like Raj Kumar, Rajesh Khanna, Hema Malini and Vinod Khanna in central roles -- Kudrat failed to sustain at the box office.

Chetan Anand did, however, win a Filmfare award for Best Story, beating commercial hits like Kalyug and Ek Duje Ke Liye.

The songs Hamein Tumse Pyar Kitna and Chhodo Sanam are still popular.

Karz (1980)

Image: Rishi Kapoor in Karz.

Box office collection: Rs 2 crore

Subhash Ghai's 1980 thriller, starring Rishi Kapoor, Tina Munim and Simi Garewal, has stood the test of time but was just a moderate success when it hit the screen.

Reruns on Doordarshan, followed by satellite television telecasts have introduced newer generations of film lovers to this film.

Neel Kamal (1968)

Image: Movie poster of Neel Kamal.

Box office collection: Rs 2 crore

Over a decade before Karz, the relatively unknown director Ram Maheshwari's Neel Kamal, starring Waheeda Rehman, Raj Kumar and Manoj Kumar, entertained audiences with its impressive reincarnation tale in 1968.

The film was scripted by Gulshan Nanda, a popular novelist.

Neel Kamal did well at the box office. The song Tujhko Pukare Mera Pyaar became very popular. 

Madhumati (1958)

Image: Dilip Kumar and Vyjayantimala in Madhumati.

Box office collection: Rs 1.5 crore

Going another decade before from Neel Kamal was Madhumati, starring Dilip Kumar and Vyjayanthimala in lead roles.

Directed by the great Bimal Roy, this was a tense reincarnation drama.

It had some good music by master music composer Salil Choudhury.

The film won several awards, including the National Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi.

It was the biggest grosser of the year of 1958.

Mahal (1949)

Image: Ashok Kumar and Madhubala in Mahal.

Box office collection: Rs 1 crore

It all started with Kamal Amrohi's Mahal, starring Ashok Kumar and Madhubala.

Its most popular song Aayega Aane Waala stood out with its atmospheric chills and a sense of enigma.

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Joginder Tuteja in Mumbai