One more year has ended. And though it's a habit with us to look forward in life, erasing the incidents that are over and done with, one must also ponder on those 365 days we spent last year.
Undoubtedly the worst year for the film industry, the second half of the year was more disturbing than the first. In the first half of the year, we had four hits in one month – EK RISHTAA, MUJHE KUCCH KEHNA HAI, GADAR and LAGAAN – but the report card showed disasters from July to December. Fortunately, everything changed on December 14 with the release of K3G.
The year 2001 also disproved three existing myths and trends about the box-office:-
* That stars don't necessarily guarantee an opening response,
* That established directorial names can bite the dust too,
* That film scripts need not necessarily confirm to the existing commercial formula.
For the stars, most of whom have turned producers, it was a year of looking at things from the other side of the fence. When they were mere actors, not producers, they could never feel the pangs of being a producer. But when they did take up this new responsibility, it was an eye-opening experience for most.
For the exhibitors and distributors, the most-affected lot, the year 2001 was one of the most trying ones, with big-budget films taking a severe backlash at the box-office.
The box-office performance of films made by Indra Kumar (AASHIQ), Rajiv Rai (PYAAR ISHQ AUR MOHABBAT), David Dhawan (KYO KII… MAIN JHUTH NAHIN BOLTA), Rahul Rawail (KUCH KHATTI KUCH MEETHI), Rajkumar Santoshi (LAJJA), Priyadarshan (YEH TERAA GHAR YEH MERAA GHAR), Shankar (NAYAK), Mahesh Manjrekar (TERA MERA SAATH RAHEN, EHSAAS) and Subhash Ghai (YAADEIN) confirmed the belief that even the mighty can fall!
The failure of some much-anticipated star-studded films, which did not even get an opening, led to a wave of cynicism among distributors in the trade that stars don't necessarily guarantee an opening response. The result: Big distributors began to shy away from paying high prices for films.
In certain cases, prices already paid were re-negotiated and, for the first time, stars began to get the feeling that their presence wasn't enough to send the audiences rushing to the theatres.
2001 also proved that the commercial formula wasn't always indispensable, with directors attempting new subjects in films. The success of LAGAAN and GADAR proved this point. Both were period films, both did not have the heroes dressed in designer outfits and both did not boast of fancy song picturisations at prime international locations.
Another film that shocked the audiences for its hardcore reality was Madhur Bhandarkar's CHANDNI BAR. The success of this realistic Tabu starrer, revolving around a bar girl's existence, made on a shoe-string budget, with no lavish sets and no songs, showed that films did not always have to confirm to established norms in order to qualify for a success.
The release of K3G in December proved that there is always a light at the end of a dark tunnel. For a change, the exhibitors woke up from their long-dejected mood, the distributors began to feel that paying a big price could work if a film was made with a lot of conviction and the audience felt the need to return to the theatres once again.
All put together, it was a year that gave the film industry a new learning experience to break away from its existing moulds and adopt a new thinking pattern. The traders are now hoping that the optimism that began towards the end of December 2001, continues in the year 2002, with all the new lessons learnt.
CLASSIFICATION OF FILMS 2000 - TOTAL RELEASES: 230
A11 (Super-Duper Hit)
Gadar (Historic in Delhi, U.P., Punjab)
A1 (Super Hit)
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham ('A11' in Mumbai, South, Overseas)
Lagaan ('A11' in Mumbai, South, Overseas)
Chandni Bar (Mumbai, South)
Dil Chahta Hai (Mumbai, South, Overseas only)
Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai
Jodi No. 1 (better in Mumbai, Delhi, U.P.)
The Mummy Returns (dub.)
Chori Chori Chupke Chupke ('A' in Mumbai, South)
Chhupa Rustam ('A' in Bihar; Commission Earner to Overflow in some territories)
Indian ('A' in Delhi, U.P., Punjab)
Kasoor (Mumbai, South)
Ek Rishtaa (Mumbai, Delhi, U.P., Rajasthan)
Good B (Commission to Overflow)
Ajnabee (Mumbai, South)
Albela (Mumbai, Delhi, U.P.)
Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya (Mumbai)
Farz (North India)
Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega (Mumbai)
Monsoon Wedding (dub.; Mumbai, Delhi, U.P.)
B (Coverage to Commission)
Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein
STATISTICS AT A GLANCE
Hit to Average Films: 21 (9.59%)
Losers: 198 (90.41%)