The Dudes and Duds of 2008

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By Nikhil Ramsubramaniam, Bollywood Hungama News Network

As year 2008 comes to a close, it's time to sit back, rewind and take a look at the year gone by. Bollywood has had a mixed year. While some films which were eagerly awaited with bated breath did well at the B.O. (e.g. Race, Jodhaa Akbar, Singh Is Kinng, Ghajini etc.) a striking feature of Bollywood this year was the fact that some of the most looked forward to films tanked badly, while on the other hand, films which one didn't expect much from came quietly and took everyone by surprise.

Here's taking a look at The Dudes (films which surprisingly did well with no great expectations) and The Duds (films which were supposed to do well but shockingly sank without a trace)

The DUDES

Jannat

There is no denying the fact that Indians are passionate about cricket and films. It was this very aspect that the Bhatts' decided to cash in on when they went ahead with Jannat. So you had Bhatts' blue eyed boy Emraan Hashmi playing a small time gambler who goes on to control the cricketing world as a high-profile bookie.

Debutant director Kunal Deshmukh (who is a cricket fanatic himself) did his homework well and newcomer Sonal Chauhan showed that there's more to her than just good looks and a curvaceous body.

End result: - The film which released bang in the middle of the IPL cricketing extravaganza went on to rake in some real big money.

Aamir

Many television actors have tried their hand at Bollywood but apart from a few like SRK, not many have been able to make a mark. So when UTV decided to make a small film under their newly formed division UTV Spotboy with a new director Rajkumar Gupta and T.V.'s wonder boy Rajeev Khandelwal, not many people gave them a chance. In fact the makers released the film along with a biggie like Sarkar Raj which many thought was hara-kiri. However, nothing can be more unpredictable than the Box Office. Rajeev's act as the middle class Muslim guy who gets unknowingly caught in a terrorist plan was appreciated by the critics and the janta-janardhan.

End Result:- This small film went on to be a profitable venture for UTV Spotboy and finally T.V. had given us yet another actor to look forward to - Rajeev Khandelwal

Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na

The success of Jaane Tu…Y Jaane Na was not primarily based on one individual but a collective team of like minded people. The film may have introduced Aamir's nephew Imran Khan but once the film hit the marquee, it was not just Imran and Genelia but his whole gang of friends comprising of Jiggy, Shaleen, Rotlu, Bombs that got noticed. Abbas Tyrewala proved his mettle as a director and with able support from producer Aamir Khan, this small film emerged to be one of the biggest success stories of 2008

End Result:- Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na took us back to our college days, and reminded us of all the lovely things that one enjoyed during that special phase

Rock On

Farhan Akhtar has always been known to defy the stereotype. So when the talented producer- director decided to face the camera, everyone waited with bated breath to see what was in store. This time too, Farhan opted for a rather unconventional kind of a film to make his debut as an actor. In fact even as the project was on floors, quite a few industry wallahs were apprehensive guessing if this film on a rockband would find its audience. Also the captain of the ship, in this case Abhishek Kapoor, had delivered a dud like Aryan in his first outing so that didn't help matters either. Even the music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy initially didn't find many takers initially. However once the first show ended the verdict was unanimous.

End Result: - Rock On had won the audiences hearts and people couldn't stop singing praises for the Awesome Foursome of Farhan, Arjun, Purab and Luke who rocked the nation with their performance.

A Wednesday

2008 saw many films deal with terrorism (Hijack, Black & White, Mumbai Meri Jaan, Aamir and Hijack etc.) but what set apart A Wednesday was the fact that it showed the frustration, angst and agony of a common man affected by terror attacks. The film may not have boasted of heavy duty stars like the Khans or the Kapoors or the Khiladi Kumar…yet it had two of Hindi cinema's finest actors Naseruddin Shah and Anupam Kher pitted against each other. Slickly directed by debutante director Neeraj Pandey, this film earned unanimous appreciation from the hard nosed critics and the paying public.

End Result:- This small film- A Wednesday made some big dhamaka at the B.O. each day of the week (be it Friday, Sunday or Wednesday).

Phoonk

Ram Gopal Varma was once upon a time a brand; however his last few ventures turned out to be damp squibs at the B.O which obviously affected his market standing. Even in year 2008, his underworld saga Contract sank without a trace while the biggie Sarkar Raj evoked a mixed response. Hence, when RGV's Phoonk was nearing release, not many people gave it a second chance. The film boasted of a completely new star cast and needless to say, people didn't really have many expectations from this spook fest. Yet when the first show ended, this film on black magic succeeded in scaring the living daylights of the audience

End Result:-Helped by a strong, positive word of mouth and backed by some innovative marketing Phoonk emerged as a surprise success story of 2008.

The DUDS

After honoring 'The DUDES', its time to take a look at 'The DUDS' of 2008. In short, these are the films that had humongous expectations but fell like nine pins.

Tashan

This film from the country's top production house -Yash Raj Films had an ensemble star cast of Anil Kapoor, Akshay Kumar, Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor. Right from the time the film was announced, it aroused curiosity for all possible reasons be it Kareena's size zero and bikini act or real life couple Saif and Bebo's reel life chemistry. Yet when the first show ended on Friday afternoon, all hopes came crashing down. Nothing about the film managed to excite the janta janardhan. Be it Akshay Kumar's 'Goodluck', Kareena Kapoor's 'Ishtyle' or Yash Raj Films' 'Pharmoola', they all couldn't save this film from becoming one of the biggest flop-busters of 2008. What's more, the tussle between multiplex owners and the makers resulted in the film only releasing in the single screens in Week 1.

End Result:-By the time the film opened across multiplexes, the damage was already done. After all, 'First Impression Is The Last Impression.'

Love Story 2050

Every father dreams of doing his best for his son. Harry Baweja is no exception. For son Harman's debut in Bollywood, Harry left no stone unturned. He chose a subject which gave Harman a chance to showcase his skills as an actor, a dancer and a fighter. He even spent crores on SFX to give the film a futuristic look. He even had one of Bollywood's leading ladies-Priyanka Chopra as Harman's co-star. Close to the release, a grand audio release function and an even grander premiere in London was arranged. Yet when Love Story 2050 hit the marquee, the paying public felt something was amiss. The love story failed to strike an emotional connect while the action sequences too didn't find many takers. As for Harman, he was criticized for emulating Hrithik Roshan.

End Result:- Not all love stories have a happy ending; this one surely didn't for its makers.

Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic

The combo of YRF- Kunal Kohli- Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukherjee had delivered a huge hit with Hum Tum few years back. Hence, when the same team came together with Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic, but obviously, expectations were huge. The film had a story inspired by Mary Poppins with Rani playing an angel to four orphaned kids. Ameesha also featured in the film and showed off that she could sizzle in a swimwear too. However, all of this failed to generate the footfalls at the cineplexes. To add insult to injury, a small film Thodi Life Thoda Magic tried to earn a quick buck by filing a case against the makers for using a similar title. This film too was released on the same day as TPTM.

End Result:- After the whole TPTM experience, its makers Yash Raj Films are wondering what they need more? Audiences' 'Pyaar' or some Heavenly 'Magic'.

Karzzzz

Himesh Reshammiya may have gotten lucky with his debut flick as an actor Aap Kaa Surroor but deciding to star as Monty ( a role immortalized by Rishi Kapoor) in the remake of Karz was a risk that the singer- composer- actor shouldn't have taken so early in his career. If his first film created some kind of hype, then the hype for Karzzzz was ten times more. However, it was this very four letter word (HYPE) which resulted in the downfall of the film. Once Karzzzz opened, people went in with gargantuan expectations but came back shattered at the thought of their favorite cult classic film being royally butchered. In fact the audiences were laughing at Himesh and Urmila's histrionics and as for debutante Shweta Kumar, the less said the better.

End Result:- The audiences went Zzzzzzzz watching Karzzzz

Drona

Many years ago two little kids Abhishek and Goldie had 'Bas Itna Sa Khwab' that one day when the grow up they will make a fantasy film with swordfights, horse chases etc. This year the duo realized their dream through the fantasy flick Drona. The film was touted as one of the biggest and most expensive films of the year with huge amounts of money spent on special effects, costumes, sets and action sequences. Yet when the film opened across cinema halls, this fantasy flick didn't catch anyone's fancy. Abhishek's attempt at being the next warrior cum superhero failed to strike a chord with the audience who outrightly rejected this film.

End Result:- The film hardly gave anyone anything to laugh about and enough reasons to rona. Last heard, everyone associated with Drona were trying to forget this fiasco immediately.

Kidnap

Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision Ltd. has had a terrific run at the B.O. with some big hits like Bhagam Bhag, Golmaal, Jab We Met etc. Hence, when they joined hands with Dhoom director Sanjay Gadhvi to make an action packed thriller everyone got excited. With Sanjay Dutt pitted against latest kid on the block-Imran Khan and Minissha Lamba providing the glam quotient (courtesy a sexy makeover), everyone expected Kidnap to take the B.O. by storm. While the film took a decent opening, it soon fell like a pack of cards. People couldn't digest some of the corny and stupid scenes shown in the film and while Imran tried his best to salvage the show, Dutt looked out of shape and quite disinterested in the whole proceeding.

End Result:- Poor audiences were left wondering if they were the hostage stuck inside the theatre watching this boring Kidnap drama.