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RaceBollywood half-yearly review : Nothing much to cheer about
29th June 2008  23.00 IST
By Aparajita Ghosh  

It's no laughing matter. Six months of 2008 have flown by and Bollywood, the world's biggest movie producing industry, cannot give more than a few hits.

If you set out to count the number of hits this year so far, you won't go beyond the fingers of just one hand. Four hit films out of scores of releases! Where's the cinematic revolution we all thought was going to sweep Bollywood? One after another, films have come and gone this year and only few distributors have laughed their way to the bank. The rest, which is a staggering count, have suffered losses, bit the bullet, and moved on.

Leading the pack of hit films is Race , an over-contrived Abbas-Mastan suspense thriller that was scoffed at by critics but lapped by audiences. Estimates say the movie has made approximately Rs 47 crore, even surpassing Ashutosh Gowarikar 's royal romantic saga Jodhaa Akbar , which kicked up a storm over the actual relationship of its titular protagonists played by Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai .

Ram Gopal Varma redeemed himself and regained some of the lost respect in the eyes of fans and film fraternity with his Sarkar Raj , starring for the first time the three Bachchans - Amitabh Bachchan , Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai together in fleshed out roles. The film is still running in the theatres and will expectedly near the Rs. 30 crore mark at the box-office. Big B's other release Bhoothnath didn't do so well but it managed to stay afloat for a few weeks.

The count of hit films ends with Jannat , an out-of-the-ordinary story of a bookie who loses love in pursuit of his idea of heaven. The movie not just brought the Bhatts back into the reckoning, but it also pushed up the market value of Emraan Hashmi , whose revised acting fee became a subject of curiosity and even envy for peers in Bollywood.

That's just about it for the successful films in the first half of 2008. So far not so good.

Recalling all the duds of the year can be a depressing task, but some of the notable disasters deserve another whack.

The most deserving of this honour is the super-duper hyped Tashan , which, I'm sure, wrecked the attitude of many of its unfortunate viewers. Neither size-zero Kareena Kapoor 's bikini act (which some found 'hot') nor the certified hit-giver Akshay Kumar 's superb comic timing saved the film from sinking deep at the BO.

Ajay Devgan 's directorial debut U Me Aur Hum with Kajol made its viewers glum, grim and weepy with its sob tale of a couple going through marital crises. The film's failure was a blow to Devgan who was already reeling from the super-disaster of Rajkumar Santoshi 's pretentiously righteous film Halla Bol early this year.

Rakesh Roshan's much hyped comedy Krazzy 4 also found no acceptance from the viewers despite some sizzling items by Shahrukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan on 'copied' tracks.

While the big films were biting the dust, some of the small films like Mithya , Khuda Ke Liye and the recently released Aamir showed that you don't need big stars or big budgets to make good films. These were the films that were immensely appreciated by critics, even though they failed to set the cash registers ringing.

Some hope has been revived with the release of Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic in the last days of June. But it will still take weeks, if not days, to clearly know whether the film does well or meets the same fate as the previous flicks from Yashraj Films .

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Shahrukh Khan
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Khuda Ke Liye
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Yashraj Films

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