HARDCORE COMMERCIAL FILMS with rural backdrop made a big bang in 2010 with the success of Raajneeti and Dabangg but many other mega budget films like Raavan, Kites and Guzaarish flopped at the box office.

The year began on a high note with Aamir Khan starrer 3 Idiots. Though the film released in late December in 2009, it continued to do well in 2010 with its feel-good appeal. The Rajkumar Hirani directed movie is now one of the biggest blockbusters of the recent times.

However, it was Rajnikanth starrer Tamil film Endhiran, that took the crown of being the biggest hit of year. Call it the sheer magic of Rajni’s presence or director Shankar’s neatly packed action-sequences, the movie transcended language barriers to emerge the highest grosser of the year.

Thanks to Rajni, Bollywood beauty Aishwarya Rai got her only hit of the year with two of her mega budget movies like Raavan and Action Replayy failing to do well.

Small budget films like Tere Bin Laden, Udaan, Phas Gaye Re Obama continued to surprise the convention-loving industry by earning big bucks in theatres without any backing from big stars or producers.

Some of the major disappointments of the year came from top stars and directors. Much anticipated films like Mani Ratnam’s grand cinematic effort Raavan, Ashutosh Gowariker’s freedom saga Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se and Hrithik Roshan and Mexican stunner Barbara Mori’s Kites failed to take flight despite the hype surrounding them.

Apart from these movies, other biggies like Salman Khan’s Veer and Akshay Kumar-Aishwarya Rai starrer Action Replayy, Akshay’s Khatta-Meetha also flopped. According to trade analyist Taran Adarsh, the failure of these movies resulted in a loss of about Rs400 to Rs500 crore.

Another trade analyst Amod Mehra said the losses would be more than Rs500 crore as Salman Khan’s rustic entertainer Dabangg and Golmaal 3 were the only two superhits of the year while Prakash Jha’s Raajneeti, Milan Luthria’s period crime thriller Once upon a time in Mumbaai and I hate Luv Storys did well.

Shah Rukh Khan’s My Name Is Khan, Aamir Khan’s Peepli Live, which is also India’s official entry to the Oscars, and Sajid Khan’s madcap Housefull also fared well at the box office.

Mehra said a total of 237 movies including those dubbed were released during the year. “2010 was very bad. There were more flops and a very few hits. No particular trend was witnessed except the fact that hardcore commercial films were back in the business,” he said.

“Even though small movies like Love Sex aur Dhoka, Ishqiya, Khichdi, the movie, Do Dooni Chaar, Phas Gaye Obama, Tere Bin Laden, Peepli Live, Udaan recovered their costs and were critically acclaimed, it is high time that the big budget movies also run,” Mehra said.

In recent times, small budget fares like Phas Gaye Obama and Band Baaja Baaraat scored well in comparison to Ashutosh Gowariker’s Khelein Hum Jee Jahan Se based on the 1930 Chittagong uprising, released in November.

With several biggies like Dum Maro Dum, Game, Patiala House, Body Guard and Rohit Shetty’s remake of Tamil hit Singum with Ajay Devgn, Aamir Khan’s untitled movie, his own home productions Dhobi Ghat and Delhi Belly, Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Ferari ki Sawari, Farhan Akhtar-Shah Rukh Khan starrer Don 2, Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara lined up for release, the coming year looks promising for the industry.

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