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2010 Year Of Monstrous Disappointments

Katrina Kaif In RajneetiR you kidding? The letter ‘R’ kept recurring  in 2010. The biggest letdown of the year Raavan and one of the biggest  hits of  the year Raajneeti shared the  ‘R’ factor. No doubt Ranbir  Kapoor was the star  of the year while Rahman, the maestro from Chennai lost some of his sheen with  unpardonable delays and mediocre scores like Raavan and Jhootha Hi Sahi.

The biggest  chartbuster of the year came from the the low profile Lalit Pandit whose Munni badnaam hui instantly joined the  ranks of  the ritiziest item songs in Bollywood, on a  par  with Kajra re and Beedi jalay le…It also catapulted the sizzling Malaika Arora to dizzying heights of  glory. Malaika will now dance only for her husband producer Arbaaz Khan’s films and will of course endorse the brand of balm that the song so seductively talks about.

Brand endorsement and Bollywood became inextricably bonded in 2010.When stars were not shooting feature films(and many of the leading ladies were not) they were shooting ads. And when they weren’t shooting ads they were shooting their mouths off to the media .Otherwise there was always the stage performances.

Besides A R Rahman’s world tour there were no major world-concert tours from Bollywood in 2010. 2011 will see  Ranbir Kapoor take off  for his first ever live performance all over the world.

If  A-lister stars were not heading to the stage they  took off for television. Priyanka Chopra displayed some delectable derringdo on Fear Factor. The Big B and  Salman Khan decided to helm 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' and' Bigg Boss',respectively.  Akshay Kumar opted to do a  cookery show 'The Master Chef' which sadly  did not turn out to be finger-licking good.

In 2010 Ranbir lent his cool clout quotient to  Prakash Jha’s  blockbuster political drama Raajneeti. Later during the year came the unexpected clanger Anjaana Anjaani which boasted of  the virgin Ranbir-Priyanka pair.(Maybe the fault lay with the word Anjaana. No films with that title Anjaana, Do Anjaane,Anjaan Rahein has ever done well).

Audiences  preferred the tried and tested Ranbir-Katrina jodi . That real-life jodis don’t work on screen was again proven this year with  the debacle of  Raavan bringing the hot-and-coveted real-life jodi of  Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

The back-to-back  success and failure,respectively, of Raajneeti and  Raavan within  two weeks of one another came as a shock to the film industry. What exactly does the audience want? Stars they love? Then how do we explain the abysmally low opening  of Mani Shankar’s  and Rahul Dholakia’s Sanjay Dutt starrer Knock Out and Lamhaa?

The turn-out of  newcomers was shockingly sub-standard in 2010. Barring  an Anaitha Nair in Nagesh Kukunoor’s Aashayein and an Aditya Roy Kapoor in Action Replayy and Guzaarish, there was not a single new face, audiences could take home to Mom…or Dad.

Salman khan who introduced the Katrina Kaif lookalike Zarina Khan earlier during the year in the boxoffice fiasco Veer, did a much better job of introducing Sonakshi Sinha  in the year’s smash hit Dabangg. Sonakshi was undoubtedly the discovery of the year.

In a year cluttured with monstrous debacles  like  Anurag Basu’s  pricey Kites and Mani Ratnam’s dicey Raavan , Dabangg was the face-saver. Producer Arbaaz Khan is still counting the profits. The film propelled Salman ahead of  the other Khan superstars for a while.

Another Khan, Imran had a hit in debutant director Puneet Malhotra’s I Hate Luv Storys,  which was also Sonam Kapoor’s career’s first bonafide success. Later during the year her  home production Aisha was pretty thanda and not so cool-cool. The director Rajshri Ojha was  pretty much lost in the film’s designer babble.

There were some significant debutant directors this year. Vikram Motwane blew  our mind with his coming-of-tale saga Udaan. Siddharth Malhotra managed an impossible casting coup in  his directorial debut We Are Family when he brought together Kajol and Kareena Kapoor. Abhishek Choubey fashioned an unusual drama of sex, jealousy, murder and adultery Ishqiya set  in the cow belt. Dabangg without glamorous trappings Ishqiya was a sleeper hit about rural India and its fetish for infidelity. Later during the year debutant director Anusha Rizvi’s Peepli Live too did well enough for us to assume that rural India was  back on the Bollywood map.

Period films as a genre suffered a setback with Veer. However at the end of the year Ashutosh Gowariker’s  Khele Hum Jeen Jaan Se raised our hopes again , not just about the future of period/historical dramas but about Abhishek Bachchan being a force to reckon with.

By year- end it was clear that the disappointments at  the boxoffice far outweighed the triumphs. Sanjay Dutt and Nandita Das who once starred together in a film called Pitaah became proud parents. Vivek Oberoi  tied the knot in what he called an arranged-cum-love-zyada marriage.

Vivek had two  films to his credit this year, new director Kukoo Gulati’s Prince and  veteran Ram Gopal  Varma’s Rakht Charita. By year-end the star system was again at a low ebb. But myopic producers continued  to  pay them unheard-of prices.

Except Aamir Khan, no other Bollywood actor can seduce audiences into theatres. So why pay them in multi-crores?

Time to ask these questions all over again in 2011.

Subhash K Jha / Sampurn Wire

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