Apna sapna?

Money, money

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Big deals and bigger endorsements... will Bollywood's good run continue in 2007 too?

Shubhra Gupta

So, Hrithik Roshan's Rs 35-crore, three-film deal with Adlabs just got competition: Shah Rukh Khan has signed on a three-year endorsement with major-league advertisers for the same amount, in which he has to spend five days of the year totally dedicated to the brand.

This is what Bollywood is all about:

apna sapna money, money

. Sangeeth Sivan's movie of the same name may not have made the `paisa' its producers dreamed of, but it is certainly tinsel town's theme song.

The biggest movie of last year

Dhoom 2

has already made Rs 120 crore, and is still counting. Six weeks down the road, it is still running in all shows in most of the large single-screen theatres, which opened the movie. So pleased is Yash Raj Films with its performance that it is contemplating a third part. Word on the street is that

Dhoom 3

will have Aditya Chopra as director and SRK and Saif Ali Khan splitting the action between them.

The year 2007 will be as exciting as the one gone by. The big-budget, multi-starrers will continue to be in the works; at the same time, the `smaller' films (medium-budget, medium-stars) will get more and more attention and space, courtesy canny production houses which made money on such films as

Khosla Ka Ghosla

, which won a


award this Sunday for its strong theme, as well as

Pyar Ke Side Effects

, which was targeted sharply at the multiplex metro crowd, and which succeeded in pleasing its audience.

First up is Mani Ratnam's


(the director is going blue in the face claiming it is not based on Dhirubhai Ambani's amazing rags-to-riches story, but we know better, don't we?) with Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai. The stars have done everything to garner curiosity for their film a trip to a famous temple in Varanasi, the details of which mysteriously found their way to all the news channels (`Aish and Abhishek to marry?' ran as `breaking news' for nearly 24 hours!), shifting the release to the new year, to put some distance between it and their previous film, the disastrous

Umrao Jaan

, and careful publicity campaigns.

The end of January will see Nikhil Advani's much talked about


, a version of Hollywood rom-com

Love Actually

, with a whole slew of stars ranging from the ever-popular Salman to the on-the-comeback-trail Govinda. The latter's re-appearance in Priyadarshan's year-ender

Bhaagam Bhag

was off-kilter, but he still has the skills to make his presence felt. Advani, whose first film

Kal Ho Naa Ho

was made under the Karan Johar banner (stories abound about their fall-out), will be out to prove that he can do it on his own. We'll see.

The monthend will also have the star of

Kal Ho Naa Ho

re-appearing on television, as host of

Kaun Banega Crorepati

's third season. It's not about whether SRK will better Amitabh Bachchan's act in the iconic game-show which resurrected the fortunes of both Bachchan and Star TV; it's, yes, all about the money SRK's fee adds more zeroes per episode. And just to prove that he is not on his way out, the Yash Raj produced

Chak de India

, in which he plays a football coach to a clutch of 11 women, will release this year. And then, around the year-end, he will begin work on his own home production, directed by Farah Khan. There's already a great deal of buzz about the signing on of Deepika Padukone, the most exciting face on the modelling circuit in 2006.

The rumour mills have been very busy with the Amitabh-SRK rivalry for months now (a weekly newsmagazine, as well as the Sunday cover story of a national daily, ran a story last month legitimising the split). SRK may have taken over the hot seat on TV, but it is Amitabh who still has the maximum-value endorsements, and two very interesting films.


, by Ram Gopal Varma, is a `desi' Lolita, in which he plays a 60-something obsessed with a 16-year-old. The promos are on air, and they look fetching; and `mature love story'

Chini Kum

, by advertising man Balakrishnan aka Balki, in which he plays the romantic lead opposite Tabu. Then, of course, is his turn as Gabbar, darkened skin, sneer, scar and all, in Varma's take on



The rest of 2007 is as interesting, a mix of the big and the small, the new and the not-so-new. Anything Sanjay Leela Bhansali does creates news. His


stars Rishi Kapoor-Nitu Singh's son and Anil Kapoor's daughter (the last time such a big-ticket couple debuted, it was Rajesh Khanna-Dimple Kapadia's daughter, and Dharmendra's younger son), and is also Sony Pictures' first Indian production.

Then there is Ashutosh Gowarikar's historical mega-pic

Akbar Jodha

, starring Hrithik and Aishwarya. The director, who has been busy shooting all of the past year, will have to live up to his 2003


, and have to fight for audience attention (traditionally, historicals do not do well in India, especially in these days of lightweight bubblegum entertainment, typified by

Dhoom 2

and its ilk). Hrithik will want to carry forward the

Dhoom 2

success-story; so will its leading lady: their pairing in

Dhoom 2

is as big a hit as the movie.

And Vidhu Vinod Chopra, flush with the great performance of his production

Lage Raho Munna Bhai

, gets back to being director, after a sizeable gap.


is also a multi-starrer with its line up of Amitabh, Sanjay Dutt and Saif. Dutt's fate still hangs in balance (in the Mumbai blast case), but whether it will affect the movie is in the realm of conjecture: who knows, maybe the warmth he has spread as Munna will help the man and the movie).

But showbiz has to go on: today, it is Abhishek and Aishwarya's turn to wait for the verdict. Hit



(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 12, 2007)
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