Earlier this year, I made a post on my most awaited movies of the year. Not even one of the movies fulfilled my high expectations; some of them were okay, some of them were good, but none were worth the wait. Rockstar left me thirsty for Imtiaz Ali's romantic direction. Mausam put me to sleep and Bodyguard made me re-examine whether I even like masala films or not. Last year, there were those hidden gems, like Band Baaja Baarat and Udaan, that shocked everyone and defied the rules of big stars and budgets. Again, there were no such "hidden gems" in 2011. With the exception of maybe Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge.
Back in 2010, even Daabang pleasantly surprised me. Despite being a huge Salman film, it was worth the cult-status it garnered. Raajneeti was brilliant; it was high tension and action, which I think everyone had missed in Hindi cinema. The icing on the cake was probably Band Baaja Baarat, which had me dancing to it's tune for most of 2011 as well.
In 2011, the directors who made those popular 2010 films, made some more films. Unfortunately, none of them could compete with their previous works. Like I was saying, Raajneeti was greatly loved. Though it was an adaptation of the Mahabharat and The Godfather, it had it's own certain spice, which was intertwined with Indian politics. Prakash Jha did good. This year, his Aarakshan not only burned and suffered at the box office, but was missing the thrill that the trailer depicted so articulately. The box office numbers suffered and the movie-goer did too. Band Baaja Baarat director, Maneesh Sharma, also returned to the big screen, with Ladies Vs. Ricky Bahl. Again, just like Jha's Aarakshan, that movie has been written off by the public and critics alike. Daabang, which gave me hope in Salman's film choices, was also replaced with Salman starrer's Ready and Bodyguard. No hard feelings, but those movies were not as good as Dabangg in any way. Dabangg is what revived the Masala film genre in Hindi films! Bodyguard and Ready are, for the most part, parodies of Dabangg. They are basically three hours of Dabangg allusions. There is even a separate Wikipedia page devoted for the list of accolades received by Dabangg. I don't see such pages for Ready and Bodyguard, which both got poor to mixed reviews by critics. Overall, the expectations that film makers and actors had set for us all in 2010, were murdered this year. Why do they do such good work, just to fall back down again?
While looking at the films from earlier this year, I also found a rather shocking statistic ..."As of December 01, five releases of 2011 have made it into the list of highest-grossing Bollywood films" . In 2010, only four films made it into that list. That's great news monetarily for the industry, but I wanted that to happen with even better films. Enough of my ranting though...let's talk about who made the most money this year
Here is the list of this year's Top 10 Grossing Films (Don 2 will most probably be a part of the list by January):
This Masala pot-boiler is reminiscent of the movies that every Hindi film watcher was happy to leave behind in the '90s.Despite being a huge Salman fan, the two menacing uncles, run-away bride and evil villains of this film ruin any chances of it being anything more than time pass. The story is so cliche! How many times have we watched that storyline unfold? Salman, himself, has been in at least ten movies with the same storyline. The difference, like I said earlier, are the unrelenting Dabangg jokes. Forget the storyline, the one-liners aren't even original. It's after a movie like this, that makes me think that people would even pay to watch Salman sleep for three hours straight. Sad, but most likely true.
3) Ra. One
I would NOT want to comment on this movie...seeing as I've not seen it and I've already posted on why it doesn't excite me.
4) Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
This film mostly sold itself as a coming-of-age journey, but I saw it as more of a tourist advertisement of Spain. Though Hrithik, Abhay and Farhan are on a life-changing journey through the country, there is not enough excitement in the movie to keep the viewer interested. It unassailable that Zoya Akhtar, the director of the film, is very talented. However, she needs practice on how to make a film engaging. I love a meaningful film, but there still needs to be that entertainment quotient. Adding some short, erratic funny scenes is not going to interest the viewer...the film just needs to get going! Surprisingly, despite using superfluous amounts of English and zero Masala, ZNMD managed to make more than 150 crore.
"Ajay Devgan? Solo-hero? Hit?...Blockbuster?! WHAT?" That was precisely my reaction when I found out that Singham was a hit. I would have never thought that Ajay Devgan could garner more than 150 crore at the box office by himself. I still can't believe it. I watched the film with pretty low expectations and I am glad I did because it, therefore, exceeded my expectations. It was so absurd that I actually enjoyed it. I, surprisingly, had no problem watching thirty men kicking some guy's ass. I laughed about it too. I like the crazy South Indian style films! However, let's not make it a habit. It looks good in moderation. We don't want more Salman pot-boiler situations!