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December 22, 1999
Coming Up: Some Big Movies
Aseem Chhabra in New York
After its success with films like Rajshri Production's Hum Saath-Saath Hain and Subhash Ghai's Taal, Eros Entertainment's distribution machinery encountered a slight hiccup last weekend. Its new release, Dahek, performed poorly at the box office.
According to Daily Variety, Dahek's total gross for the opening weekend (December 17 to 19) was slightly over $ 41,000. Starring Akshaye Khanna and Sonali Bendre, it ranked 54 among the movies showing in North America. Unless there is a dramatic revival, it could end its run with less than $ 100,000.
Dahek will face some opposition this week when Yash Raj Films will release Sunil Darshan's Jaanwar. The movie starring Akshay Kumar and Karisma Kapoor opens on December 24. Yash Raj Films have had a luckless year so far.
Mann was a total washout, with a less than $ 250,000 gross. And Godmother, starring Shabana Azmi, did not even figure on the box-office radar.
After a month-long drought, Bollywood movie distributors are gearing up for several major releases early next year. The drought was essentially mostly caused by the Muslim holy month of Ramadan -- traditionally considered by Bollywood film producers to be inauspicious to release new films. Distributors in North America hope the big new movies will more than make up for the losses suffered by Dahek, Thakshak and several other films.
Topping the list of much awaited movies is Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, the first film produced by Dreamz Unlimited, the joint production company launched by one of Bollywood's biggest draws, Shah Rukh Khan, and Juhi Chawla, who hasn't been in a hit in a long time.
Directed by Aziz Mirza, and starring Khan and Chawla, Phir Bhi... opens on January 21. Mirza last directed the 1997 hit Yes Boss which also starred Khan and Chawla.
The title song from the film sung by Udit Narayan is already on several top 10 songs lists. The music of Phir Bhi... is composed by Jatin-Lalit.
The film's soundtrack album, produced by Sony Music, was released earlier this month.
"The music from the film and the star power of Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla is sure to draw big audiences into the theaters," a spokesman for the film's North American distributor, Eros Entertainment, said.
Also to be distributed by Eros is director Dharmesh Darshan's Mela. Opening on January 7 (the day Eid-ul-Fitr will be celebrated, marking the end of the month of Ramadan), Mela stars Aamir Khan, his brother Faisal and Twinkle Khanna.
Darshan's last film -- the 1996 hit Raja Hindustani, also starred Aamir Khan.
Other films that Eros has lined up for the theaters in early 2000 include Pukar -- starring Madhuri Dixit and Anil Kapoor. The director is Rajkumar Santoshi and its music is composed by Bollywood's most sought after composer -- A R Rahman.
Pukar is expected to open in February.
Three other films to be distributed by Eros are Hey Ram, starring Kamalahaasan, Shah Rukh Khan and Rani Mukherjee. (Kamalahaasan also directs the film); Khauff with Sanjay Dutt and Manisha Koirala; Kashmir directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra (of 1942: A Love Story fame) and starring Sanjay Dutt, Hrithik Roshan and Preity Zinta.
Video Sound, another major film distributor in North America is opening Bulandi in January. Directed by T Rama Rao, Bulandi stars Anil Kapoor in a double role, along with Rajnikant, Rekha and Raveena Tandon.
Video Sound's last big hit was this summer's Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam which grossed over one million dollars in the North American market. Their recent releases, including Kohraam and Hello Brother, performed averagely at the box office. Video Sound did not release the box office figures for their latest film, Govind Nihalani's Thakshak which was out of most theaters after a two-week run.
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