Chak De! Bollywood

3331bollywood_sign.jpgI guess this term amply sums up all that Bollywood has stood for this year. The Shimit Amin film has caught up with the imagination of millions of Indians and has almost become a buzzword for the India that lives on dreams and aspires for the stars; such was the impact of the term that the Gujarat Congress decided to use it as their election slogan (though it did not help their fortunes). A typical underdog story that everyone would like to believe happens, Shahrukh Khan and his gang of girls created box office history and producers Yashraj Films finally got something to cheer about after the huge box office disaster Jhoom Barabar Jhoom. The Chak De effect triggered an avalanche of sports films, beginning with the disaster called Dhan Dhana Dhan – Goal.

But I guess the year 2007 would be remembered for those small budget films that managed to garner critical acclaim and made profits for their producers as well. The film that tops this list is director Sagar Ballary’s remake, of the French classic Le Diner de cons. Bheja Fry which came across as this heart warming tale of an ‘idiot’ made huge profits at the multiplexes and set the tone for the success of many such small budgeted films. Another film which I would consider as one of the best films of the year is Anurag Kashyap’s graphic taken on the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts Black Friday. The film boasts of a solid storyline backed by good direction and acting, and helped its director gain a toehold in Bollywood after being ready for release for more than two years. The director’s other release this year No Smoking, though got panned by critics and audiences alike, was at least experimental and almost introduced a revolutionary genre of ‘a personalized filmmaking’ in mainstream Bollywood.

But then this year was also a year when the audiences stuck to the tried and tested formula. Barring Chak De India, all the other top grosser of the year were variations of a hit formula. Comedies were the flavour of the season with many comedies gaining big at the box office. The year also would be remembered for the debuts of many star kids, prominent being Ranbir Kapoor, son of Rishi and Neetu Kapoor, and Sonam Kapoor daughter of Anil Kapoor in Saawariya along with Neil Mukesh, grandson of singer Mukesh in Johnny Gaddar. The darling of the nineties Madhuri Dixit made a much-awaited comeback in Aaja Nachle, which ran in the cinema halls on the sole credit of the actress. Several big directors and producers bit the dust; prominent being Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who was heavily criticized for his romanticized take on the classic Fyodor Dostoyevsky short story White Nights, Saawariya and Vidhu Vinod Chopra whose Eklavya went to the Oscars (as India’s Official Nominee for the Best Foreign Language Film). However the biggest brickbats were showered for Ram Gopal Verma who made a disastrous remake of the cult film Sholay in RGV ki Aag and the Indian version of Lolita in Nishabd. The year also saw a lot of experimental films like No Smoking and Sanjay Gupta’s Dus Kahaniyan.

The year’s top grosser include Farah Khan’s take on Bollywood in the 1970’s Om Shanti Om, Mani Ratnam’s Dhirubhai Ambani inspired biopic Guru, Chak De India, David Dhawan’s Partner and Imtiaz Ali’s Jab We Met. Other hits include Priyadarshan’s Bhool Bhulaiya, Aamir Khan’s Taare Zameen Par, Vipul Shah’s Namaste London and Anurag Basu’s Life in a… Metro. King Khan emerged as the undisputable numero uno this year and comedy star Govinda made a comeback. Madhuri Dixit delighted her millions of fans while the Abhi-Ash jodi finally delivered a hit (also got married). I now name list the best of 2007.Below the winners names are the others that I thought were worth mentioning.Performance wise the year was nothing special. Tabu and Irfan Khan were brilliant in Mira Nair’s The Namesake (but wasn’t it expected) and so were Sarika and Naseeruddin Shah in Parzania. Vishal-Shekhar gave some good, hummable music especially in Om Shanti Om. The trio of Shanker-Ehsaan-Loy emerged as the best in the year with Taare Zameen Par. The other notable music directors include A. R. Rahman (Guru) and Shantanu Moitra (Khoya Khoya Chand). Jaideep Sahni was the Scriptwriter of the Year for Chak De! India and Umang Kumar got noticed for his imaginary sets in Saawariya. Overall it was an extremely average year for Bollywood.

The following are the likely nominations for this year under various categories:

Best Film: The Namesake

Jab We Met
Taare Zameen Par
Black Friday
Chak De! India
No Smoking
Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd.
Life in a……… Metro
The Blue Umbrella

Best Director: Vishal Bharadwaj (The Blue Umbrella)
Imtiaz Ali (Jab We Met)
Mira Nair (The Namesake)
Rahul Dholakia (Parzania)
Anurag Kashyap (Black Friday)
Shimit Amin (Chak De! India)

Best Actor: Darsheel Safary (Taare Zameen Par)
Shahrukh Khan (Chak De! India)
Pankaj Kapoor (The Blue Umbrella)
Abhishek Bachchan (Guru)
Naseerudin Shah (Parzania)

Best Actress: Tabu (The Namesake)
Sarika (Parzania)
Kareena Kapoor (Jab We Met)
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (Provoked)
Rani Mukherjee (Laaga Chunri Me Daag)Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Irrfan Khan (The Namesake)
Mithun Chackraborty (Guru)
Vipin Sharma (Taare Zameen Par)
Kay Kay Menon (Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd.)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Konkana Sen Sharma (Life in a……… Metro)
Kangana Ranaut (Life in a……… Metro)
Sonia Jehan (Khoya Khoya Chand)
Shilpa Shukla (Chak De! India) The above are my personal opinion. Do feel free to discuss with me if you disagree or not.

Anupam Dhar