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February 2, 1998


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Bollywood '97

V S Srinivasan

It was the best of times, the worst of times for Bollywood. Was 1997.

It started off with a strike that delayed new releases until a solution was reached after four weeks of protracted deliberations.

Till that time, the earlier releases made hay, primary among them the already successful Raja Hindustani.

But later, despite a dull first stretch in 1997, a surprisingly large number of films did well. The consistently dull showing had been some cause of anxiety for Hindi cinema, other than the aforementioned film and the 1995 hit Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge.

There was a lull after the Gulshan Kumar murder, but films still drew audiences.

If there were big successes in 1997, credit for it also must go to the film-makers, who bravely invested heavily in the films. Case in point being J P Dutta with the biggest hit of the year. We go over the list of the most notable hits and misses of the past year.



Super duper hit Border
J P Dutta had made several big films, none of which showed that he had a super-duper hit in the wings.

He invested heavily in the film, depicting the 1971 battle of Longewala with Pakistan. Passions raged and communal tensions were spawned in London. One cinema house was even burnt down. But Dutta had a multi-starred point. Sunil Shetty recovered much ground, Akshaye Khanna bagged the image of the star of the future, and Dutta got back his money. And some.

Border was sold at Rs 15 million per territory. It made around Rs 100 million per territory and is carrying on. And yes, it has done exceedingly well overseas too.


Dil To Pagal Hai

Slow and steady... Dil To Pagal Hai
If son Aditya could pull off a Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, so could dad Yash.

DTPH had a sluggish start, bounced over some bad reviews, and then quickly shifted into top gear. Chopra took up the worn-to-death theme of the love triangle and stuffed in a fourth angle to surprise the populace. The add-on, whose name was kept out of the poster and publicity material, did the film much good; the film didn't do him much good, though.

Sold at Rs 20 million per territory, playing on the Shah Rukh-Madhuri-Karisma combo, this film has picked up more than Rs 70 million per territory already. In Bombay alone, it has picked up Rs 90 million. The film is also a hit in the south, where Hindi films rarely do well, and in the overseas market, a Chopra monopoly.


Hit Pardes
Subhash Ghai first wanted to call this film Ganga and kept telling all and sundry that it was his dream project. Finally the film was called Pardes. Heroes were chosen, mulled over and dropped. Finally, Shah Rukh Khan, Mahima Chowdhary and Apoorva Agnihotri were finalised.

After his disastrous Trimurti, Ghai went slow on the publicity of the film, shot extensively in the United States and Canada. It tugged some nostalgic strings overseas too. The film was sold at a price of Rs 18 million per territory, the presence of Shah Rukh and Ghai making it stick. It collected -- on an average -- over Rs 40 million. The film did well in Bombay, Nizam and the archaically-termed Central Provinces. In fact, in Bombay it had a collection of around Rs 60 million.


Yes Boss

It didn't do as well as expected and, considering it's a hit, you can gauge the expectation. It was director's second film with Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla after Raju Ban Gaya Gentlemen. A slow starter, it steadily gained in audiences.

Sold at Rs 15 million per territory, it made an average of Rs 30 million from each of them.


Rajiv Rai brings the best out in Viju Shah who did the music for Tridev, Vishwatma and Mohra. And now, Gupt. The success of the film did wonders for Bobby Deol.

Govinda No 1: Hero No 1
With clout in the form of Manisha Koirala and Kajol, the film was sold at Rs 17.5 million per territory. The thriller, ends with Kajol, one angle of the love triangle, proving to be a little twisted.

Since Manisha and Kajol are well known in the south, Tamil Nadu itself netted Rs 12.5 million. The film collected Rs 45 million in Bombay and had an average collection of Rs 30 million per territory.


This film was a surprise hit and acclaimed Guddu Dhanoa's reputation as an action film-maker. Dhanoa had earlier made Elaan with Akshay Kumar and Goondaraj with Ajay Devgan, both which concentrated on stunts.

Ziddi was no exception with Sunny Deol going through the strenuous motions in a routine tale that ran the gamut of locations from Filmistan to Switzerland and back to Juhu hotel. And it had some sensuous numbers, including Ore ore by Raveena Tandon. The film, sold at Rs 15 million per territory, made more than double per territory. The north netted Rs 50 million, thanks to Sunny's presence.


There were Karisma, Rambha and two Salman Khans in the film. It started of well and then lost steam. The film, sold for just Rs 12.5 million per territory, caught the fancy of the masses with its racy lyrics and rap music. All in true David Dhawan style.

It easily managed more than twice the sum invested in every territory.


Rustic splendour: Virasat
Raj Kanwar came up with yet another winner after Deewana, Ladlaa and Jaan. The film had a strange storyline, about a wife who sells her husband. But though it flew in the face of convention, the film did well. Of course, it could also have something to do with the presence of Anil Kapoor, Sridevi and the sensuous Urmila Matondkar.

The film sold at Rs 15 million per territory and made almost double the sum invested, Rs 29 million. In Bombay it got back Rs 35 million.

Hero No 1

Govinda proved once again that he is a big draw. This time he even got the elite sneaking in.

Good camerawork, exotic locations and a strong team -- David Dhawan, Govinda and Karisma -- saw the film rake in the shekels.

Sold at Rs 15 million, recovered an average of Rs 35 million per territory.


Everyone in the film worked at astonishingly low prices, basically because the director was the Malayali marvel, Priyadarshan. The film, starring Anil Kapoor, Amrish Puri, Tabu and Pooja Batra, was sold at just Rs 6.5 million per territory. And earned four times the amount in almost every territory.


Great expectations: Ishq
The most awaited film of the year. Indra Kumar's fourth film proved he could have a hit without Madhuri Dixit, the heroine of his earlier three hits, Dil, Beta and Raja.

The comedy starring Aamir Khan, Juhi Chawla, Kajol and Ajay Devgan sold at Rs 17.5 million per territory and, though it is doing quite well, the final word is still to come in.

Chachi 420

Kamal Hasan's second consecutive hit in Hindi after the dubbed Hindustani. A remake of Mrs Doubtfire, it got off to a wobbly start and then picked up, touching the overflow mark in the third week. It was sold at Rs 15 million per territory, has already made Rs 23 million per territory, and shows no signs of flagging.


Deewana Mastana

Ketan Desai's second film did much better than his first one, Anmol, which flopped. Directed by David Dhawan, Deewana Mastana starred Govinda, Anil Kapoor and Juhi Chawla. Though Anil was the apex of the triangle, Govinda stole the show.

Sold at Rs 17.5 million the film netted Rs 25 million on an average.

Mr and Mrs Khiladi

Dark horse Ziddi
David Dhawan did it again. Released on the same date as his Deewana Mastana, Mr & Mrs starred Akshay Kumar and Juhi Chawla. With Jab tak rahega samose mein aloo and the title number amusing audiences, the film was sold at Rs 10 million per territory and recovered, on average, Rs 20 million per territory.


The film was released on the same day as Dil To Pagal Hai and Ghulam-E-Mustafa and still managed a better opening than either film. But thereafter, it lost out. Sold at Rs 9 million per territory, the film made Rs 15 million per territory.



Hyped beyond belief, Mehul Kumar couldn't make it meet expectations. Though Amitabh Bachchan still commands the same following off screen, he couldn't keep audiences in the theatre to watch this one.

This film had the highest price tag of the year, Rs 22.5 million per territory. It could not even make Rs 10 million per territory.


Never made it: Hamesha
The producer was G P Sippy, of Sholay fame, the star cast included an in-the-news Kajol, Saif Ali Khan and Aditya Panscholi. Maybe the director wasn't too hot -- Sanjay Gupta had two flops, Aatish and Ram Shastra behind him.

Incarnation is out of fashion and distributors wouldn't touch it and the Sippys released it themselves. But in Bengal, the film failed even to get a release. The estimated loss was Rs 30 million.


Ramgopal Verma flubbed the formula test. Sold at a very high price of 17.5 million per territory thanks to the Sanjay Dutt-Urmila combination, the film collapsed like a pricked balloon. The film made losses of over Rs 10 million per territory.


Akshaye Khanna's rather chastening entry into Bollywood. The film was sold at Rs 12.5 million per territory, but it failed to get back more than 7.5 million per territory.

Aur Pyar Ho Gaya

Successful: Judaai
Another case of expectations overriding performance. Ash Rai's good looks, Bobby Deol, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's music... But the audiences resisted the multiple lures and the film, sold at Rs 17.5 million, failed to make more than Rs 8 million per territory.


Directed by Raj Kanwar, starring Ajay Devgan and Twinkle Khanna, it was priced at Rs 17.5 million. Distributors lost more than half their investment.

Lahoo Ke Do Rang

Mehul Kumar's first flop of the year starred Akshay Kumar, Karisma and Naseeruddin Shah. Distributors had to be satisfied with less than half their investment of Rs 12.5 million per territory.


The Sanjay Dutt magic has withered and waned. Or maybe several years in the making made the film, which also stars Madhuri Dixit, lose its lustre. It was sold at Rs 15 million per territory and was swiftly pulled out of theatres. The film could not even manage Rs 5 million per territory.


Madhuri Dixit had great expectations from this film, produced by her secretary Rikku. The film also starred Sanjay Kapoor and Akshaye Khanna. The film flopped, managing Rs 13 million per territory after being sold at Rs 15 million.


Colourless Lahoo Ke Do Rang
Auzaar, Sapnay, Koyla, Hamesha, Tamanna Ghulam-e-Mustafa, Prithvi, Mrityudand.


Anil Kapoor: Virasat, Judaai, Deewana Mastana.
Karisma Kapoor: Hero No 1, Dil To Pagal Hai, Judaai and Judwaa, Mrityudaata, Lahoo Ke Do Rang.
Tabu: Border, Chachi 420, Virasat.
Sunil Shetty: Border, Bhai.
Juhi Chawla:Ishq, Deewana Mastana, Mr and Mrs Khiladi, Yes Boss.
Shah Rukh Khan:DTPH, Pardes, Koyla.
Suny Deol: Border, Ziddi.
David Dhawan: Hero No 1, Deewana Mastana, Mr, Mrs Khiladi, Judwaa

Hit squad

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