The year 2003 saw many releases - some big, some small. Interestingly, the year was slightly better for Bollywood as more films fared well at the box office, compared to 2002. However, it was a year more for misses than hits...

By N Anandhi

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Published: Sat 3 Jan 2004, 1:53 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:38 AM

Some stars like Abhishek Bachchan only had flops. Shah Rukh Khan had two hits, Ajay Devgan had three flops. The scripts of many films were not up to the mark and that was possibly the reason.

Aishwarya Rai's Dil Ka Rishta, Vivek Oberoi's Dum, Tusshar Kapoor's Kuchh To Hai and Yeh Dil, Raveena Tandon's Satta and Stumped, Kareena Kapoor's Khushi, Karisma Kapoor's Baaz, Manisha Koirala's Market and Escape from Taleban and Govinda's Ek Aur Eek Gyarah were all notable flops... But there were unexpected successes... such as Sujoy Ghosh's Jhankaar Beats, Anil Sharma's The Hero, Raj Kanwar's Andaaz and Ram Gopal Varma's Bhoot... Small films like Khwahish, Nayee Padosan, Jajantaram Mamantaram and Chhota Jadugar fared better than others releases of the year.

And the hits were not much... Kal Ho Na Ho, Koi Mil Gaya, Chalte Chalte, Munnabhai MBBS and Jism were the five big hits. Ishk Vishk, Andaaz, and Hungama also did well. Here's the best and worst of 2003.


Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon

Sooraj Barjatya's much hyped film Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon fared badly at the box office. The film starring Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan and Kareena Kapoor, sank without a trace. Barjatya put a ban on the songs being played on radio as a result of which they never became as popular and that was another deterrent apart from the bad script and rehashing of their earlier production Chitchor.

Kuch Na Kaho

This film by Rohan Sippy held a lot of promise because of the filmmaker's good reputation. But two minutes into the film and people realised that Rohan has failed to deliver a good film. They preferred to say nothing as the title of the film suggested.


Everyone was waiting to see Honey Irani's debut film, especially after her son Farhan Akhtar had made a wonderful debut with Dil Chahta Hai. But this former actress turned director failed to pep up things despite having a fabulous cast of Amitabh Bachchan, Gracy Singh, Preity Zinta, Anil Kapoor and Randhir Kapoor. The problem was that Honey could not get her script right for Armaan though she had written a few good scripts for others.


Boom went bust. The film was expected to be more sensible as director Kaizad Gustad had a decent track record. But the esoteric nature of the script resulted in the audience rejecting the film outright. Also the vulgar scenes in the movie went against its success at the box office, despite a star cast boasting of Amitabh Bachchan, Zeenat Aman, Jackie Shroff, Bo Derek, Padmalakshmi, Katrina Kaif, Madhu Sapre, Gulshan Grover and others.


This controversial film has the biggest starcast in Indian film history... LoC started promisingly, but the reviews and the public reactions to this film have not been very kind. And this has meant that the collections have started to slip by the day. The film may recover its money but one is not sure whether it can collect more than its investment of Rs35 crore. The problem is that the length of the film and the number of expletives used in the film is going against what could have been a much better performance.


Kal Ho Na Ho

The presence of Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta along with Saif Ali Khan was enough to attract NRI crowds in the US. The film has had a good collection. Shah Rukh plays a terminally ill heart patient in the film, which has all the ingredients of a Karan Johar movie... from laughs to tears... a family melodrama. And as usual like in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai it has a love triangle. The film also sees the debut of director Nikhil Advani. The second half of the film proved to be its undoing; else the film would have made much more money.

Munnabhai MBBS

This film, a laugh riot, wasn't expected to do as well as it finally managed to. The film has brought in good collections. The plot is heartwarming and fun. The mirth, laughter and entertainment has been liked by the masses and the classes alike and that has led to the film doing quite well and cut into the collections of Kal Ho Na Ho too, which is quite an achievement in the cities... looking at the kind of sway Shah Rukh holds over the urban audience.

Koi Mil Gaya

Koi Mil Gaya undoubtedly was a film that would make or break the career of Hrithik Roshan. With his father making the film, one expected much more. Rakesh did have a different idea and the film worked for various reasons. Hrithik's brilliant acting, some sweet comedy... and the kind of appeal it had to get the children into the cinema halls. Koi Mil Gaya was indeed a path breaking film too in terms of special effects, though one felt that the film could have been much better.


Jism was the first hit of the year. Pooja Bhatt produced the film, which starred Bipasha Basu and John Abraham. A debut film by Amit Saxena, it sold because of the revealing scenes. The film, made on a shoestring budget, collected a lot of money and inspired Pooja to turn to direction. Jism also got a mention in the BBC's list of hot movies.



Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Salman Khan and Ajay Devgan were the stars of 2003...

These actors did well at the box office. And also they got a lot of the limelight, for whatever they did.

Amitabh Bachchan

Amitabh Bachchan did everything he possibly could in an attempt to make more money and repay a lot of debts. He did succeed, and in the process became the brand ambassador of Uttar Pradesh, the goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF, besides being a brand himself. Indeed, Bachchan became the advertising industry's favourite poster boy. But more than anything else, his dancing in the film Baghbaan was the most appreciated and even Karan Johar felt that Bachchan put all the heroes to shame with his performance in the film.

Shah Rukh Khan

Shah Rukh Khan had two releases, Chalte Chalte and Kal Ho Na Ho and both did well at the box office. Khan's guest appearance in 2002's release Shakti also helped the film make more money. Khan thus proved his supremacy at the box office and also that he was the man Bollywood can always look up to in bad times.

Hrithik Roshan

Heartthrob Hrithik Roshan beat back a lot of bad press by coming out with a winner with his home production Koi Mil Gaya. Hrithik's performance was appreciated to a great extent. And the initial collections at the box office were good enough to last for a while and keep his detractors at bay.

Salman Khan

Bad luck and bad behaviour does not portend bad omens at the box office for Salman Khan. The man who courts controversy and ends up often in court seems to increase his popularity with every controversy. Post his accident last year where he ran over a few people killing one person in the bargain, Salman Khan got a lot of publicity after Vivek Oberoi held a press conference and accused him of making 41 threatening calls over Oberoi's friendship with Aishwarya Rai. The media went live and Salman Khan got a lot of publicity leading to the success of his films Tere Naam and Baghbaan at the box office. And Vivek Oberoi lost a lot of friends in the film, industry while Khan gained many more.

Ajay Devgan

Another star was Ajay Devgan. He took Bollywood by force and bagged his second national award for The Legend of Bhagat Singh. Ajay Devgan also proved his status as a man who takes risks by doing Gangajal, the most controversial film of the year on the Bhagalpur blindings. His three other films Zameen, Parwana and Chori Chori fared badly.


Bollywood's female stars were also on cloud nine... The top five were Preity Zinta, Aishwarya Rai, Rani Mukerji, Bipasha Basu and surprise, surprise... Hema Malini.

Preity Zinta

Preity Zinta who played the peppy New Yorker inched ahead with the year-end superhit Kal Ho Na Ho... She was also in the year's other big hit Koi Mil Gaya. Zinta also tried playing the hot girl in Armaan, but couldn't do much to make her all that appealing.

Rani Mukerji

Giving Zinta a run for her money was ravishing Rani Mukerji, whose sultry cool makeover...won her kudos in marital discord dramas like Saathiya and Chalte Chalte. She also remains the favoured co-star of Bollywood's ruling Khans and bagged a role opposite Aamir Khan in The Rising. She was the one who had also replaced Aishwarya Rai in Chalte Chalte.

Aishwarya Rai

Aishwarya Rai was splashed on the cover of Time magazine, which metaphorically implied that Bollywood was going global. Moreover, the actress was also invited to be on the jury at the Cannes film festival. Thus Aishwarya Rai emerged as India's biggest film brand.

She was also mentioned as India's hottest export after Chicken Tikka. Dripping diamonds by Cartier and with her Adonis boyfriend Vivek Oberoi adorning her arm. Rai was the toast of the French Riviera. She was also director Gurinder Chadha's choice for the lead in Bride and Prejudice and hit Hollywood with more promises including a film with Meryl Streep.

Ash had both dash and cash, she even beat Amitabh Bachchan for a range of product endorsements. Rai did have her share of problems and controversies too like the negative publicity for the Salman Khan-Vivek Oberoi fracas.

She also lost roles in Shah Rukh Khan's Chalte Chalte, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Bajirao Mastani and Ketan Mehta's The Rising.

Bipasha Basu

She was the year's model-turned-actress who set the screens on fire in Pooja Bhatt's Jism. Her role was applauded and even the BBC rated her 92nd on an all-time list of hot actresses. As Bollywood's provocative poster girl she made the best of the opportunity. She landed films with top stars, boyfriend John Abraham and ex-boyfriend Dino Morea. Bipasha will be soon seen with John and Amitabh Bachchan in Vikram Bhatt's Aetbaar. and with Dino in Ishq Hai Tumse.

Hema Malini

She would have bagged the granny of the year award, if there had been one for Hindi films. The greatest looking granny of the year was Hema Malini. Looking much better than her daughter Esha Deol, Hema returned to Bollywood with Ravi Chopra's Baghbaan. A new look, a new role, and maybe a new career. The star who beat the age barrier was the former Dream Girl. She changed the salt-and-pepper persona of screen grannies with a spring in her step.

The Debutants

THERE were few new arrivals in 2003. Apart from the long list of hopefuls trying to set the screens on fire, there were some star sons too.

Pankaj Kapur's 23-year-old son, Shahid Kapur, made his debut in Ken Ghosh's candy floss college romance Ishk Vishk and got cinegoers to stand up and cheer. However another star son, Sanjay Khan's offspring Zayed Khan did not manage the same with his romantic thriller called Chura Liya Hai Tumne.

A similar fate awaited another star daughter,Tanuja's younger daughter, Tanisha, whose suspense thriller Ssshhh echoed nothing but eerie silence at the box office.

Among the directors, Amit Saxena, Nikhil Advani and Rajkumar Hirani made their debuts in style. Both these directors had debut films which rocked the box office. Even Sujoy Ghosh made a decent debut with Jhankaar Beats and Ken Ghosh also made a good beginning with Ishk Vishk.

Among the women directors Honey Irani failed as a debut director, Pooja Bhatt made her debut as a director with Paap which was also the first Indian film to be premiered in Pakistan. Parvati Balagopalan also made a decent debut with Rules - Pyar Ka Superhit Formula.

Comeback of the year

SHAH Rukh Khan's status could be described as the person who had really made a comeback. After Devdas, a lot was expected from Shah Rukh Khan, but a niggling back injury forced the trade pundits to rule him out of the top slot. But the man fought his back pain and was back in business with two of his films hitting the jackpot. Khan also kept his date with star shows and one of his live performances led to the city of Singapore naming an orchid after him.

It was a bad phase

HE was the disaster of the year, marginally beating back the challenge of Abhishek Bachchan. Oberoi however had a good start earlier with Company and Saathiya, but flopped with Road and Dum. His biggest low came with his Press conference, where he alleged that Salman Khan had threatened him over the phone 41 times to stay away from Aishwarya Rai. Then followed an accident in Kolkata on the sets of Mani Ratnam's Yuva and he was out of action for nearly four months. Vivek Oberoi's first international project, The Invaders never took off and Samir Karnik's Kal Ho Gaya Na was delayed. The year ended with a role in Subhash Ghai's new project Kisna, which he got after placing his dates diary on Ghai's table.

Weddings of the year

IT was a year for weddings. Karisma Kapoor tied the knot to Delhi-based businessman Sanjay Kapur. Earlier, actress Sonali Bendre married her long-time lover, filmmaker Goldie Behl, and actress-turned-director, Pooja Bhatt, married veejay turned restaurateur Munish Makhija in Goa. Rinke Khanna also married Sameer Saran, an NRI from London.

Raveena Tandon also announced her engagement to distributor Anil Thadani to be held in 2004. Directors Madhur Bhandarkar and Anurag Basu too got married on the same day - but not to each other, obviously.

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