Born Still, Laid To Rest

It is believed that at any given moment more than a thousand new films are being planned in tinsel town; out of these at least half get announced, one third launched, one tenth completed and released, though only twenty percent of the one tenth make any mark ranging from hits to commission earners while the remaining slither down the toilets in the multiplexes. And there are yet another five to ten per cent who go through the birth pangs, but almost immediately get laid to rest for a variety of reasons, lack of distribution channels being one of them. Other factors being the subject getting stale, loss of hero’s stardom, the product not up to market value, release of lab letters. In the fickle world of entertainment star values fluctuate like shares at the stock exchange.

            The latest issue of a Bollywood trade weekly has published a consolidated list of 110 completed films lying in the cans for want to buyers, and theatrical release. Many of them have got jaded and dated with the stars themselves, completed even a decade ago (these should logically be removed from the list) with no chance whatsoever of finding light of the day. Take, for instance, the once much-touted Amitabh Bachchan-Vijayshanti- Arshad Warsi, Karisma Kapoor-starrer Zamaanat, produced by none other than once infallible S Ramanathan who had also made some other flicks with the megastar; the four Dharmendra in the lead: Hamara Faisla, Aandhi aur Toofan, In Aankhon ka Chakar, Nidar—the Fearless; Vinod Khanna with Gracy Singh in Chooodiyan; Jackie Shroff-Raveena Tandon’s Sandhya, with Govinda and Mahima Chaudhary in Mastana, Jadh—The Root Cause with Sonali Bendre; Sunny Doel-Tabu’s The Challenge by KC Bokadia; two Sunil Shetty-Aishwarya Rai-starrers Radheyshyam Seetaram and Hum Panchi Ek Daal Ke, and with Raveena Tandon in Ek Hindustani directed by Tinnu Anand; Bobby Doel and Amisha Patel’s Humko Tum se Pyar Hai under Vikram Bhatt’s direction; Sanjay Dutt with Rimi Sen in Dost—My Best Friend; Sanjay Chel’s Govinda, Juhi Chawla, Saif Ali Khan, Pooja Batra combination in Yahoo!; Ajay Degun-Bhumika Chawla starrer Benaam directed by Anees Bazmi is the only one amongst the august list that stands a chance of redemption considering the hero’s current box office draw. Most others, except a couple Mithun Chakravorty starrers, have had newcomers in the lead who were possible heard somewhat during the making.

            In the same issue the weekly carries an inconclusive list of 51 that are at varying stages of production which in the industry jargon means unlikely to reach the finishing line, or going through inordinate delay due to lack of distributors’ interest, with no buyers for the major territories and the overseas market which has once again come to play a role, now more dominant than ever before. Besides, there are many more in the making that do not appear in the abridged role call here.

            For obvious reasons, one should eliminate Dharmendra-Reena Roy-Pooja Dadwal-starrer Chattan (ready by 15 reels), Dharmendra-Sunil Shetty-Jay Mehta Shilpa Shirodkar’s Hum Hai Aag (8 reels), Dharmendra, Jeetendra, Kamal Sadanah, Partibha Sinha (Mala Sinha’s daughter who came and went more than a decade ago) Nasir Ahmad-directed Mullazim (5 reels), Dharmendra-Sweta Menon’s Vardi—the Uniform (14 reels); Jackie Shroff-Mamta Kulkarni’s (does anyone remember her any more) under Partho Ghosh’s direction Chupa Hai Kya Dil Mein (abandoned after two reels), Jackie-Suman Ranganathan’s Devyani (11 reels); Sunil Shetty-Tabu under Deepak Bahry’s direction Dilruba (8 reels) and with Juhi Chawla and Pooja Batra Kashmakash (16 reels) by Priyadarshan. Govinda also features twice in the list, once opposite Manisha Koirala in Dil Laga Ke Dekho (11 reels) and with Juhi Chawla in Yahoo! (13 reels); Sanjay Dutt in Jaan ki Bazi with Nausheed Cyrusi (8); and Akshay Kumar-Madhoo in Abhiman (8 reels). It is doubtful if any one of them will come out of the coma.

            There are also completed films, both big and small, produced by new or established banners on the verge of release that do not find a mention in this list of the still born. This includes Dev Anand’s Chargesheet, Aamir Khan Productions’ Delhi Belly, Ajay Devgun starrer Singham, Yash Raj Films’ Mere Brother ki Dhulan with Katrina Kaif and Imran Khan, KC Bokadia’s much-delayed Ek Hasina Ek Diwana with Govinda and Priyanka Chopra, Hema Malini’s directorial venture Tell Me Oh Khudah with Dharmendra, Esha Doel.

            The count of under production flicks does not include another mile-long list in varying stages of production—both with newcomers, and under established banner with big stars and include, amongst others Shah Rukh Khan’s home production with Kareena Kapoor Ra.One and Don 2 opposite Priyanka Chopra; Aamir Khan Productions’ Zakhmi; Salman Khan’s Bodyguard ; Mahesh Bhatt’s Murder 2 with nephew Emraan Hashmi and Jacqueline Fernandez directed by another nephew, Mohit Suri; T-series’ I Love New Year with Sunny Deol and Kangana Ranaut in the lead; Shahid Kapoor with Sonam Kapoor in Pankaj Kapoor’s maiden directorial venture, Mausam; Prakash Jha’s Aarakshan with Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone; Saif’s own home production with love interest, Kareen Kapoor Agent Vinod; Govinda starrer Banda Ye Bindaas Hai; Imtiaz Ali’s Rockstar with Ranbir Kapoor; producer Ratan Jain’s Priyadarshan-directed Tezz with Anil Kapoor, Ajay Devgun, Mohan Lal, Kangna Ranaut, Sameera Reddy. All stated for release in the second half of 2011.

            Also in the running for box office honours in the next few months will be John

Abraham after a long hiatus in Nishikant Kamat’s remake of Tamil superhit, Force; Hrithik Roshan-Katrina Kaif, Abhay Doel are together in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara; David Dhawan-directed Sanjay Dutt Productions’ Rascal starring himself with Ajay Devgun, Arjun Rampal; Akshay Kumar’s Joker with Sonakshi Sinha; Desi Boyz with Deepika Padukone and John Abraham, Come on Pappu with Sonam Kapoor, Rowdy Rathore with Sonakshi Sinha again. He will also be seen with Sanjay Dutt and Lara Datta in Aasman, Aise Ko Taisa with Asin Thottumkal, Houseful 2 with John Abraham and Ritesh Deshmukh, Saamna opposite Aishwarya Rai Bachcan. With stock already touching zero degrees at the box office it will be a do or die year.

            With him and many other big stars making a big line for the small screen with big appearance money, the writing seems to be on the wall—thanks also to tie-n-suit multinational executive with little or no knowledge of cinema—in which direction will mainstream Hindi films move in the years to come. A lot of young talent is waiting in the wings for the fall of the big humpty-dumptys.

By Suresh Kohli

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