Bollywood titans to clash this festive season!

By Priyanka Khanna

New Delhi, Sep 28 (IANS) Tinsel-town denizens have been dishing out entertainment both on and off screen for the last three quarters of year 2008, but the heavy-weights who have been saving the best for the traditional festive season include Salman Khan starrer "Yuvraj", Aamir Khan's "Ghajini" and Abhishek Bachchan's "Dostana".

October has an impressive, heavy-duty line up of films that have approximately Rs.50 crore riding on each one of them. Starting Friday with release of Abhishek-Priyanka Chopra's "Drona" and the current favourite Imran Khan starrer "Kidnap", the months ahead will witness films from the biggest stars of Bollywood.

Other biggies lined up for release are - Akshay Kumar's "Chandni Chowk to China", Salman's "Yuvraj", Aamir's "Ghajini", Abhishek's "Dostana" and "Delhi 6" and Shah Rukh Khan's "Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi".

It has been a sunshine year so far with many small and medium budget films hitting the bull’s eye even though there were some major disappointments from big production houses.

The slew of low cost films that left a mark both on connoisseurs of good cinema as well as box office include “Mithya”, “Jannat”, “Aamir”, “Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na”, “Phoonk”, “Rock On!”, “A Wednesday” and even the very unexpected “1920”.

The year started on a slow mode with the half yearly report card for Bollywood showing only four films in the list of hits. In the first quarter of 2008, it was “Race” and “Jodhaa Akbar”, while in the second quarter it was “Jannat” which sent cash registers ringing. “Sarkar Raj” was also slightly above average performer in some select circuits.

A major contributing factor, besides bad marketing and content, was that April-May months were dominated by the Indian Premier League which knocked the wind out of all other forms of recreation including the small-screen tsarina Ekta Kapoor’s soap-operas.

According to trade observer Amod Mehra, the soaring prices of multiplex tickets are also to blame for the very high loss ratio.

“People are not willing to shell out big bucks for films that they are not sure will be ‘paisa vasool’,” he said.

The audience became even more cautions when much-hyped film like Yash Raj Films’ “Tashan” bit the dust. For this reason perhaps other films that had strong star presence like Amitabh Bachchan’s “Bhootnath” could not entice audiences to part with their hard-earned money.

While it is a given that box-office collections are not the only venue for filmmakers and distributors to make up for their investment, it continues to be a good barometer for intrinsic quality of the film.

It took Akshay, Katrina Kaif starrer “Singh is Kinng” to bring back audiences to cinema halls. The tale of a good-hearted bumbling Sikh reaffirmed faith of filmmakers in the comedy genre as most of comic capers released this year had failed at the turnstiles.

That it was followed up quickly with the well-packaged Yash Raj Film’s Ranvir Kapoor’s “Bachna Ae Haseeno” helped the cause further and also came as a face saver for the industrious production house.

The good run that started with “Singh is Kinng” is continuing even now with films like “1920” that had evoked little or no expectations managing to stay afloat.

Let's see which other films will turn into blockbusters in the festive season.

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