December 29, 2005


Sex bombs at the box office in 2005 (Indo-Asian News Service, December 29, 2005)

Bollywood seemed obsessed with sex and sleaze in 2005 but the flirtation rebounded, with the dozen-odd movies of this genre fading out without a whimper. [...]

The list of box office casualties is long.

Neha Dhupia, who seemed to believe that exposure was a sure means to success, had to face twin disappointments this year. Two of her films, Sheesha and Siskiyan which had elements of titillation failed to lure audience and bombed miserably. [...]

Perhaps the year's most sensational release - Vinod Pande's Sins - a film about forbidden love between a Catholic priest and a disciple - blew the lid off sexual inhibitions in Indian cinema but failed to pull the crowds.

Producer-director Mahesh Bhatt, arguably one of the most prolific filmmakers in Bollywood, has become a front-bench loyalist and tries to provide the audience instant gratification through his films.

He uses sex and sleaze as publicity gimmicks to promote his films. And to market his thriller Nazar he deliberately blew lip-locking scenes between Pakistani actress Meera and Ashmit Patel out of proportion. As anticipated, it annoyed Pakistani fundamentalists.

Bhatt ignored the box office verdict - poor - and churned out another cheesy film called Kasak with Meera and Lucky Ali. That too fell flat.

Even Rituparno Ghosh's Antarmahal was full of intimate scenes that made a few conventionalist eyebrows rise. In fact, some critics lashed out at Ghosh and even labelled him a porn-filmmaker.

But actor-turned-director Deepak Tijori, who startled filmdom with his sexually explicit films Oops! and Khamosh, seems to have learnt from his past mistakes and has moved on to comedy.

He says: "The success of a genre depends upon the audience's liking. At this point of time comedy is working and double meaning dialogues are titillating people. Also, films with two-three heroes are doing well at the box office."

Films sans sex or nudity did well at box office this year. But there are a few stubborn filmmakers who still refused to accept that verdict.

...the elites vs the peoples of the Axis of Good.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 29, 2005 12:01 PM

Hold the phone, stop the presses, and Good Night, Nurse! Bollywood movies now have sex and nudity? I gotta get out to the Indian cinema more often. Those Bollywood actresses are hot.

Posted by: Bilwick at December 29, 2005 1:08 PM

i don't htink it's nudity so much as showing an ankle here and there :)

Posted by: ebert's toe at December 29, 2005 3:40 PM

But Frank Rich says that Brokeback Mountain is the best movie ever and will break all box office records (if not, then the red states are all homophobic bigots)!

Posted by: pchuck at December 29, 2005 3:47 PM

It's fatal to the film's chances of breaking out that neither star is a man who's bitch you could tolerate being in prison. Good actors, but too wimpy.

Posted by: oj at December 29, 2005 3:51 PM

I haven't seen it but Oops! is a great title for a movie.

Posted by: Carter at December 29, 2005 4:55 PM

Yes, it is, Carter. Almost as good a title as EL PASO TRUCKING COMPANY or L.A. TOOL & DIE, two other classics about hard-working men of the West who discover interesting ways to pass their lunch-hours.

Posted by: Bilwick at December 29, 2005 6:28 PM

Weren't those part of trilogy Bilwick?

Posted by: Carter at December 29, 2005 7:11 PM

For a minute there, I though radical Islam had a new terror weapon.

Posted by: Bruno at December 30, 2005 12:57 AM