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January 2, 2001


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Rewind... flash forward
Rewind... flash forward

Suparn Verma

On an average, Bollywood produces around 300 Hindi films a year. Given this figure, one big hit -- Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai and nothing close to it is, in my book, a sad state of affairs.

Yes, there were the semi hits like Fiza, Mohabbatein, Mission Kashmir, Jungle, Josh or Dhadkan or even a Refugee.

But consider this. Fiza enjoyed a great two weeks and then the BO took a down turn all over India except in Bombay, where it recovered the distributors' money.

Mission Kashmir suffered a similar fate.

Mohabbatein opened big everywhere, but couldn't match the success of DDLJ, leaving the distributors distraught, after spending huge sums of money. Yet in the long run the film made money.

Josh was a hit in the city circuits but it wasn't an India-wide hit.

Abhishek Bachchan and Kareena's debut in Refugee opened to such a massive response at the BO that everyone thought it was the next big hit. But two weeks later, the crowds decided to stay away from the long, slow film.

With some wise economics, Ramgopal Varma's (post his biggest hit Rangeela and the goodwill-earning Satya) Jungle did well at the BO and kick started the career of Fardeen Khan.

Director Dharmesh Darshan seemed to have been carrying the weight of the success of Raja Hindustani and Lootere, with the release of Mela. The film bombed -- not that that was a surprise.

So it followed that with Dhadkan, he was carrying a dead body on his shoulders!

He took the easy way out. He got Nadeem-Sharavan to churn out two or three hit numbers, put Akshay and Sunil, who enjoy a certain chemistry together and formed the tried-and-tested triangle with Shilpa Shetty.

The film didn't sink; it did not make huge money either. Dhadkan


2000 is also the year of rebirth. Of a superstar. And heralded one of the biggest comebacks of the year.

Amitabh Bachchan got a new lease of life and career as an actor and businessman on the small screen with the runaway success of Kaun Banega Crorepati. The same actor who was neck deep in financial trouble is now busy paying up his debts and signing on new deals

He also consolidated his position with the year-end hit Mohabbatein.

His next release, Aks, has a great buzz factor and has some awesome technical values associated with it.

Shah Rukh Khan turned producer with Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, a well presented turkey. Unluckily for him, the film released along with Kaho Naa...Pyaar Hai which debuted a nobody. And which went on to become the biggest hit of the year.

Soon, Shah Rukh was fighting a battle which he managed to balance with his over-the-top performance in Josh and then a highly restrained performance in Mohabbatein.

The new year sees him taking on Hrithik one-on-one in Karan Johar's Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham which has the who's-who of the film industry in it.

Salman Khan had, to his credit, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, an award winning supporting role in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Hum Saath Saath Hai in 1999.

So with a pumped-up ego and body, he decided to lose all his baggage this year -- in films like Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge, Har Dil Jo Pyaar Karega, Kahin Pyaar Na Ho Jaye.

If you though that was bad, you ain't seen Govinda's graph. Besides being one of the most unprofessional actors, this year saw all his films flop at the BO. Jis Desh Mein Ganga Rehta Hain, Kunwara, Hadh Kar Di Apne... the list goes on!

Sanjay Dutt received a lot of critical appreciation after his award-winning performance in Vaastav. He also gave a very emotional performance in Mission Kashmir and Kurukshetra, where the only good thing in the entire movie was his acting.

However, his close pal Sanjay Gupta kept him reined in with two films: Khauff and Jung.

Ajay Devgan had two releases this year: Deewane which was a terribly convoluted triangle.

And recently, his home production, Raju Chacha. The film has great production values, but the inside buzz isn't very exciting. Besides, the huge cost of the film can never see it becoming a blockbuster.

Aamir Khan welcomed the new year with his song, Dekho 2000 zamaana aagaya in Mela. After that, he decided that maybe this wasn't his year, after all.

He has postponed the release of his home production, Lagaan to next year.

This year, Manoj Bajpai turned lead actor with Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar where he turned in a superlative performance.

But his decision to play lead actor didn't go too well with the masses, who rejected the film as well as the potboiler Ghaath.

His much-publicised feud with mentor Ramgopal Varma isn't helping him much. However, he is supposed to have matched the Big B frame for frame in Aks.

Akshay Kumar and Sunil Shetty have been partners in crime since the inception of their career. Over the last few years, they went their own ways. But this year, both their BO successes were when they were together. The hilarious Hera Pheri and the triangular series Dhadkan had the audience lapping them up.

Of the newcomers, Hrithik is now in the superstar league. Both Fiza and Mission Kashmir rang bells at the BO only because of the light-eyed wonder boy.

Abhishek Bachchan was just plain unlucky. Guess all the luck went to his father this year.

Rather sad, considering he is good-looking and intense, is a skilled actor and has a good timing for dialogues. However, Refugee, Tera Jadoo Chal Gayaa and Dhaai Akshar Prem Ke were all bad films, or too self-indulgent to establish him at the BO.

This year was a boon for Fardeen Khan, who capitalised on Jungle's success. He signed on two more films with the Varma production house, and other big banners.


One of the biggest surprises of the year was Kya Kehna. The film was. But it became a hit. Why? Jungle

Two words: Preity Zinta.

The bubbly, dimpled livewire of an actress lifted the film -- and the spirit of the audience -- and raced to the BO.

Though she does need to stay away from the Salman-Rani combo. Else 2001 will see her do a replay, once Chori Chori Chupke Chupke does see the light of day.

Karisma Kapoor's career seems to be headed the award-winning way. After a critically praised performance in Fiza and double-checking with Shyam Benegal's Zubeidaa, you can safely put your money on Karisma.

However, her Salman Khan-Govinda (Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge and Shikari respectively) combo failed.

Madhuri Dixit-Nene gave a commendable performance in Pukar, which will have her chasing Karisma at the best actress awards.

As for Gaja Gamini, the less understood, the better!

2001 will see her in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas, along with the Aadhiyaman-directed film which goes something like Aap Hamare Hain Sanam, which costar SRK and Salman.

Rani Mukherjee's career seems to be headed nowhere. In worse shape is Urmila, who has had seven flops and one hit in Jungle -- not that credit for it goes to her.

Manisha Koirala had a bad year, too, with Khauff and Raja Ko Rani Se Pyaar Ho Gaya.

As far as Tabu is concerned, she will be in the best actress lineup for Astitva. Sadly, Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar and Ghaath didn't exploit her talent to the fullest. As for Shikari, the less said the better.


The big question. Which were the best films of this year?

Mohabbatein I loved KNPH because of Hrithik and its, and Mohabbatein for the SRK and Ash sequences and the brilliant climax.

What I can give you is a host of films which will figure on the awards list from January 2001:

* Best Film: Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai, Mohabbatein, Mission Kashmir, Fiza, Josh, Dhadkan.

Any bets that KNPH will be the winner for best film and best director?

* Best Screenplay & Dialogues: Aditya Chopra.

* Best Actor: Hrithik Roshan (Fiza), Big B (Mohabbatein), SRK (Mohabbatein) and Sanjay Dutt (Mission Kashmir).

Now say it with me -- And the winner is Hrithik Roshan!

He will also pick up the best newcomer award of the year which he might have to share with Abhishek Bachchan.

* Best Actress: Karisma Kapoor (Fiza), Madhuri Dixit (Pukar), Shilpa Shetty (Dhadkan), Preity Zinta (Kya Kehna). The winner will be Karisma Kapoor.

* Best Composer: Rajesh Roshan (KNPH)

* Best Set Design: Nitin Desai (Mission Kashmir)

Overall, prepare yourselves for KNPH to sweep all the awards.

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