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2006 : An exceptional year for Bollywood
24th Dec 2006 20.30 IST
By Naresh Kumar Deoshi
Never in the recent history of Bollywood were so many new concepts, themes and genres tried in Hindi film industry as in the year 2006.
Filmmakers in Bollywood have begun to think out of the box. Not only have they gone beyond aping Hollywood, they are making movies that are now being remade in the west. Breaking the shackles of the past, directors tried original ideas and concepts in 2006. And the result was movies that stirred the conscience of a nation, movies that made audiences laugh and cry, and movies that redefined the action genre.
The slot for the Best Movie of the Year has to be a tie between Lage Raho Munnabhai and Rang De Basanti . In their own distinct ways, both films fell back on the messages of the freedom fighters of yore and made them relevant to contemporary times. RDB revisited Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Sukhdev and other freedom fighters, while LRM revisited the ideologies of Mahatma Gandhi. The message that RDB gives with a bitter pill, LRM gives with a dose of laughter. If RDB shook the conscience of today's youth, LRM has pioneered a new movement called Gandhigiri.
Vishal Bharadwaj's fixation for Shakespeare took the form of yet another adaptation. This time the talented director transported the dark-skinned Moor of Venice into the rural ravines of Uttar Pradesh in Omkara , adaptation of Othello. Although the film found great appreciation among critics, it got a mixed response from the masses. Many people were put off by the liberal use of expletives in it. Yet Saif Ali Khan delivered the performance of his life in the role of the limping, scheming and cunning Langda Tyagi. The movie also proved Bharadwaj's amazing skill, vision and ability to adapt a Shakespearean tale into Indian milieu.
Year 2006 saw the reinvention of action genre in Bollywood. Hrithik Roshan raised the bar and set a new standard for action heroes by his death-defying stunts in films like Krrish and Dhoom 2 . And it seems less likely that any other Bollywood star will be able to surpass what Hrithik did in these films. He jumped down from dizzy heights, took great leaps, did sand-boarding, roller-skating, dived into a gorge and in the process of doing so he did hurt himself a couple of times. Along with blood and sweat, these stunts brought Hrithik the well-deserved title of a 'superhero'.
On the other hand, Shah Rukh Khan got to make his own style statement in Farhan Akhtar's movie Don . Reprising the role once immortalized by Amitabh Bachchan, SRK played the 21st century don with élan. The movie was not an exact remake of the original but had an unexpected twist in the end.
Three of the biggest disappointments of the year were 'Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna', 'Fanaa' and 'Jaaneman'.
Riding on the shoulders of Bollywood giants like Amitabh Bachchan , Rani Mukherjee , Shah Rukh Khan and Abhishek Bachchan , Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna was a movie from which a great deal was expected. To say the least, the movie was supposed to mark its director Karan Johar's firm step towards maturity. Alas, we saw nothing of that on the big screen. What we got to see was an utterly exhausting movie with a story full of pretensions of maturity. And the movie's maker thought, in a self-complimentary way, that he had "opened a Pandora's box" and begun a social debate on fidelity in marriages by his movie.
Kunal Kohli's Fanaa , too, dashed many expectations. Although Kajol did make a praiseworthy comeback to films by playing a Kashmiri girl, the movie's flawed script and slipshod direction by Kohli were its main nemesis.
Editor-turned-director Shirish Kunder's Jaaneman was an experiment of sorts. The film was too heavy on technique and relegated emotions to the backseat. However, Akshay Kumar's goofy giggle did manage to win many hearts in cinema halls.
While some of the big budget movies bit the tinsel dust, there were small-budget flicks like Dor , Gangster , Corporate , Khosla Ka Ghosla and Vivah that drew audiences to the theatres.
Meanwhile, success continued to elude Bollywood beauty Aishwarya Rai whose first film this year, Mistress Of Spices , came and went without as much as a whiff. Ash did impress with her well-nuanced performance as an ill-fated courtesan in J. P. Dutta's Umrao Jaan . However, the film did just about average at the box-office.
Looking back into 2006, it becomes clear that a firm foundation has been laid for our film industry to achieve new milestones. Filmmakers are bringing a hitherto unseen amalgamation of art and commerce to make films that will be remembered in the years to come.
Lage Raho Munnabhai
Rang De Basanti
Saif Ali Khan
Shah Rukh Khan
Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna
Khosla Ka Ghosla
Mistress Of Spices
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