Bollywood's cracker of a Diwali
Diwali has traditionally been a time for big-ticket releases. And often with some of the biggest stars whose professional rivalry added ammo to the fireworks of the festive week.
The Om Shanti Om (SRK-Farah Khan) -- Saawariya (Sanjay Leela Bhansali) battle of 2007, the Don (SRK) and Jaan-e-Mann (Salman Khan-Akshay Kumar) tussle of the year earlier are just some examples.
Last year however was bit of a damp squib with no big star in the lead for the releases spread out over two weekends and no clear winner.
This year Bollywood is back to business with three big banner projects releasing simultaneously on October 16. Interestingly, two of them have new directors -- Prem Soni and Anthony D'Souza, two of them have Sanjay Dutt, two of them feature cousins Fardeen and Zayed Khan, while all three belong to different genres -- action, domestic drama and comedy.
Plenty to choose from or plain confusion? Here's taking a closer look at the three Diwali releases that you could be spending your monies on.
Image: Scenes from Blue and Main Aur Mrs Khanna
Star Power: Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Dutt, Zayed Khan, Lara Dutta and Katrina Kaif.
What's it all about: An underwater treasure hunt shot in the Bahamas and Bangkok by Peter Zuzzarini, who was the DOP (director of photography) for Pirates of the Caribbean, and is believed to be the best in the game.
The budget is a whopping 100 crores and the producers have spared no effort in making this the most lavish and stylish films in Bollywood.
What's at stake: Akshay Kumar's standing in the industry. After Singh is Kinng (which was panned by critics but did well at the BO), Kumar seems to have run out of luck completely.
8X 10 Tasveer, Chandni Chowk to China, Jumbo, Kambakkht Ishq, the jeans unzipping controversy and a PIL against him have all added to his misery and Kumar desperately needs Blue to work to be back in the pink of health again.
Talking Point: The stunning underwater scenes, the deadly sharks, Lara Dutta in gorgeous swimwear and A R Rahman's scintillating score. And of course, Kylie Minogue shaking her booty to Chiggy Wiggy with a little help from Akshay Kumar.
Gossip: Sanjay Dutt is reportedly upset for being ignored in the film promos, even though he plays the protagonist and Kumar the antagonist. To be honest, a lot of you may have heard his name in this context just now. Snubbed by the producers, Dutt is now focussing on his other Diwali release All the Best.
Also, the poor response to the star-track Chiggy Wiggy has fuelled speculation that it may be dropped from the film when it releases. The director has so far denied it.
Why should you watch it: Stunts, the likes of which you may not have seen before. And a sumptuous eye-candy in the form of Lara Dutta.
Image: A scene from Blue
Main Aur Mrs Khanna
Star Power: Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Sohail Khan and a cameo by Preity Zinta.
What's it all about: Marital disharmony in the lives of a fairy-tale couple -- Salman and Kareena. She apparently likes a club owner, and Salman leaves her behind for professional reasons.
What's at stake: Everything for debut director Prem Soni, who has taken on a challenge many would shy away from. Kareena Kapoor has not had anything to boast about in a long, long time other than a chic new wardrobe. She needs some favourable reviews after the severe tongue lashing she received for Kambakkht Ishq.
Talking Point: Salman Khan has just had a good turn at the BO with Wanted, and is already on a high, which this film could benefit from.
There has also been a favourable response to the music and his fans are curious to see how well his chemistry works with Kareena Kapoor.
The ever changing cast lineup -- actresses who were being considered for the role were Priyanka Chopra, Ayesha Takia, Deepika Padukone to name a few -- gave this film a doomed tag before Salman salvaged it.
Gossip: Preity Zinta's item song is so obviously copied from Kajra Re of Bunty Aur Babli, it is not funny. Everything from Zinta's dress to the choreography seems to be a straight lift.
And it is widely believed that Salman's role is nothing more than an extended special appearance -- it is actually Sohail Khan's film. Now whoever would want to watch Sohail Khan for over two hours in an intense emotional drama?
Why should you watch it: Kareena and Salman's chemistry.
Image: A scene from Main aur Mrs Khanna
All The Best
Star Power: Ajay Devgn, Sanjay Dutt, Fardeen Khan, Mugdha Godse, Bipasha Basu.
What's it all about: Does it matter?
Talking Point: Ajay Devgn has dropped the 'a' from his surname, to appease the gods of booking windows.
The scene in which the actor leans down from a car suspended eight feet above the ground to propose to Bipasha Basu is something of a highlight of the film.
Also, Mugdha Godse, after marrying a gay designer in Fashion gets to romance Fardeen Khan in this one.
What's at Stake: If this works, director Rohit Shetty and Ajay Devgn will go to town with their strike rate, with the crowd --pleasing Golmaal and Golmaal Returns to their credit.
Sanjay Dutt needs to give his shrinking fan base something to talk about other than his political misadventures and his missus' temper tantrums.
Finally, Yash Raj Films, which is still reeling from the aftershocks of Dil Bole Hadippa, has taken up the overseas distribution rights for this film. If the movie does not rake in the moolahs, expect some more bad news from the ex-stalwart of a production house.
Gossip: The regular PR-generated rubbish (yawn!) about the two leading ladies allegedly not getting along etc. About date problems between the three actors -- Ajay, Sanjay and Fardeen etc etc. Nothing really of consequence.
Why should you watch it: It is fashionable among filmmakers to defend a bad product by calling it 'a film for the masses' and a 'leave-your-brains-behind' flick.
It is an insult to the audience's intelligence and one hopes ATB does not have to fall back on such weak alibis to make it work. Yours to watch if you like masala flicks, with a dash of lime!
Image: A scene from All The Best