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DTH News : 2010 a not-so-'Dabangg' year for Bollywood
So what if 'Dabangg' managed to scorch the box office with a rich haul of Rs 145 crore. The bitter truth is that it hasn't been a 'Dabangg' year for Bollywood in terms of revenue receipts. With nearly 180 films released this year, trade analysts are finding it hard to pick out the top ten blockbusters from an industry which is struggling with gargantuan loss figures averaging at Rs 300 crores. Technically there are just a handful of films that have managed to make sizeable profits this year. These include films like 'Dabangg', 'Golmaal 3', 'Once Upon A Time In Mumbai', 'Rajneeti', 'Housefull' and 'Peepli Live'.

But the biggest eye-opener of the year has been a small budgeted, completely experimental film. Dibakar Bannerjee's innovative take on modern love in a messed up age not only walked away with critical acclaim for its brave new idiom and its bold new theme, it also managed to teach Bollywood its most important lesson. With a production cost of just Rs 1 crore and a revenue of Rs 8 crore, the film has enunciated the new business model for the film industry.

Think big, but keep it small: that's the new survival mantra for a busted Bollywood that is battling the blues with biggies like 'Veer' and 'Kites' biting the dust. And it isn't LSD alone which is boasting about economies of scale. Films like 'Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge', 'Peepli Live', 'Tere Bin Laden' and 'Phas Gaye Re Obama' which had rational budgets and reasonable profits also prove that bloat is definitely a bad word in film business today. Even a film like 'My Name is Khan' which managed to gross a Rs 80 crore plus isn't being viewed as a big hit by trade analysts, simply because it cost Fox studios much more than that (Rs 100 crore) to buy and distribute the film.

Looking back, 2010 definitely stands out as the year of the small yet startling pack. Think of the films that stand out at curtain call...'Udaan', 'Tere Bin Laden', 'Well Done Abba', 'Peepli Live', 'Lahore', 'Do Dooni Char', 'Ishqiya' and LSD are some of the films that made the industry proud despite the absence of larger-than-life stars and shock-and-awe budgets. All they had was a sensible story told sensibly and sensitively. The films credited their viewers with both IQ and EQ (emotional quotient) and won instant applause for doggedly steering clear of the formula.

The year has seen an efflorescence of new directors and scriptwriters — Vikramaditya Motwane (Udaan), Habib Faisal (Do Dooni Char), Danish Aslam (Break Ke Baad), Abhishek Chaubey (Ishqiya), Anusha Rizvi ( Peepli Live), Abhishek Sharma ( Tere Bin Laden), Subhash Kapoor (Phas Gaye Re Obama), Punit Malhotra (I Hate Luv Stories), Vijay Lalwani (Karthik Calling Karthik), Maneesh Sharma (Break Ke Baad), Farrukh Kabir (Allah Ke Bandey), Abhinav Kashyap ( Dabangg), Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan (Lahore), Parmeet Sethi (Badmash Company) — who are willing to take risks and tell a different story. Contrast this with the unsavoury fate of the films by stalwarts — 'Veer', 'Raavan', 'Action Replayy', 'Kites', 'Rakth Charitra' — and the picture is clear. Old is no longer gold in an industry where the viewer profile has changed drastically and has been taken over by the digi-kids who like their drama current, contemporary and completely fresh.

In terms of entertainers, the year belonged to Salman for reinventing the superhero in 'Dabangg', Ranbir Kapoor for his riveting rendition of a desi Michael Corleone in Rajneeti, Ajay Devgan for rock steady roles in 'Once Upon a Time in Mumbai', 'Aakrosh' and 'Golmaal 3' and Vidya Balan for getting slutty in style in 'Ishqiya'. Of course, India still waits for Shiela ki Jawani to explode on screen this week.

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