History Of Bollywood Cinema - Pt 7: 2000 - 2009

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This was the decade that saw the 21st century come in but along with it came the formation of a new Award Ceremony, the coming together of the current superstars and a movie that had man, dressed in loin cloth, playing cricket. But along with this came other films which created disputes and a strike that would last for two months.

International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA)

Though there are many award ceremonies taking place each year, including the Filmfare Awards, it is this one that attracts thousands, if not millions around the world as it’s held in different countries each year. The idea of this came in 1999 and Amitabh Bachchan was appointed the brand Ambassador.


The first of the IIFA Awards was held in London at the Millennium Dome in 2000 and celebrated its tenth year in 2009, in the Chinese city of Macau. This has always created interest in “Bollywood” and brings thousands of people together wherever and whenever it is held and fans get to see their favourite stars and obtain their autographs as well.

The beginning of the century saw another star introduced.

Hrithik Roshan

Son of a former actor and director, Rakesh Roshan and grandson of music director, Roshan, Hrithik was born on 10 January 1974. He first made an appearance in the film _Aasha_ at the age of six as an extra in a dance sequence and later went on to assist his father in films such as _Karan Arjun – (1995) and _Koyla _ (_Coal_) (1997). Once when asked what he would like to be, he stammered “actor” and many thought he would not be able to overcome this problem. He did and made a debut in his father’s film _Kaho Na Pyar Hai _ (_Say Its Love_). The role was first was offered to Shah Rukh Khan but he was unavailable. The film was a success and Hrithik’s dances were appreciated.

The success of _Kaho Na Pyar Hai_ was such that few weeks after the release, members of the underworld tried to extort money from Rakesh Roshan, who refused to pay them. The gang tried to assassinate when he was hit twice. The family was then provided bodyguards at all times. Thus success of the film couldn’t be celebrated.

Yashraj films released their movie _Mohabbatein_ (_Love Stories_), a movie that had three students, who arrive at a boarding school whose headmaster is very strict and will not hesitate to expel anyone who disobeys. But then arrives a music teacher, who encourages the students to fall in love, which the headmaster is against. The movie brought two superstars together – Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan – the first time since 1982, when Bachchan starred with Dilip Kumar in the movie _Shakti_. The movie was almost entirely filmed in England during winter season. Aishwarya Rai made a special appearance in the movie, as the headmaster’s daughter who commits suicide as her after her doesn’t approve of her relationship with a student.. The movie, marked the return of Amitabh Bachchan, as he had been hosting _Kaun Bangega Crore Pati (_Who Wants To Be A Millionaire_) on TV. Though some did not consider this as a “Hit” movie, commercially it was successful and Shah Rukh Khan received an award for “Best Actor” and Amitabh Bachchan received the award for “Best Supporting Actor” and the film was a “Hit.”

In 2001, director Ashutosh Gowarikar, released a movie in which men, dressed in loin cloth, played a game of cricket against those who were ruling them.

_Lagaan_(_Land Levy_)

In 1880’s a small village in India is burdened by _Lagaan_ (_Land Levy_) imposed by the British. The villagers face the fact that they can’t pay the levy due to a draught and approach the Maharajah in the hope that they will be excused from this for a year. This is ridiculed by the British authorities and suggest a game of cricket against them. The condition being that if the villagers won, then the levy would be lifted and they wouldn’t have to pay for three years but if they lost, the levy would be doubled. The movie starred Aamir Khan as a spokesman for the villagers, who agrees to the game. It was filmed entirely in the Western Indian state of Gujarat but before filming began, Shah Rukh Khan was offered the role played by Aamir Khan but since he wasn’t able to give any dates, he suggested the director to opt for his industry colleague and thus the role was offered to Aamir Khan. The other problem that Gowarikar faced was that there not many producers who showed interest in the movie but after Aamir Khan agreed to play the main role in the film, it was decided that he would also produce it. The location chosen for the filming was Kamuna village in the state of Gujarat or its dry land and because it lacked electricity and also because it was similar to what a village would have been like in the 1800’s.Prior to being released, the film was shown the villagers and other locals. It was then premiered at the IIFA, in South Africa and also shot into the UK top ten, was screened at various film festivals and was nominated for “Best Foreign Language Film” at the Academy Awards. The award, howerever, went to a Bosnian film instead.

In 2002, film director; Sanjay Leela Bhansali released his movie _Devdas_, starring Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai and Madhuri Dixit. This was a remake of the one that had been directed by Bimal Roy and was based on the novel by Saratchandra Chatterjee. The song “Dola Re Dola” sung by playback singers Kavitha Krishnamurthy and Shreya Ghoshal, lipsynched by Aishwarya Rai and Madhuri Dixit, was very popular. The film received ten Filmfare Awards and was nominated for “Best Foreign Language Film” at the BAFTA and was India’s entry for the Academy Awards.

The following year, besides the release of a SC – FI – movie, _Koi Mil Gaya _(_I have Found Someone_), another movie, which went onto seal Shah Rukh Khan’s status as a “superstar” was released, in which he played the role of a man, suffering from heart conditions, falls in love with the girl next door but then, knowing that he hasn’t got long to live, brings happiness in her life as well as love. The movie was _Kal Ho Naa Ho, which starred Preity Zinta, Saif Ali Khan and Jaya Bachchan. The role played by the latter, was initially offered to Neetu Singh, mother of the actor, Ranbir Kapoor and wife of the actor Rishi Kapoor but she refused. The role of “Naina Katherine Kapoor” was first offered to Kareena Kapoor, who lost it to Preity Zinta due to money issues. The movie was directed by Nikhil Advani, who had previously been assistant director to Karan Johar for the movie _Kuch Kuch Hota Hai_.. The movie received many awards, including awards at the IIFA, while playback singer, Sonu Nigam went on to receive a National Award for the title song.

In 2004, director Yash Chopra returned to directing.

_Veer – Zaara_

The movie starred Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta, The story was that of a Pakistani woman who goes to India as per wishes of her late governess to scatter her ashes in the city of Kiritpur. Enroute, the coach she’s travelling has an accident and she is lifted by an Indian Squadron leader, Veer Pratap Singh. The two fall in love but are soon separated – for twenty years.

The music of this movie was based on old, unreleased compositions by the music director, the late Madan Mohan and was revised by his son, Sanjay Kohli. The sound track was released on a double CD – one containing the songs and the other the original compositions. The playback Lata Mangeshkar, who had sung many songs with Madan Mohan when he was alive, provided the playback for most of the songs with her male colleagues, including the Punjabi singer Gurdass Mann, whose name had been suggested to Yash Chopra by Amitabh Bachchan, who makes a special appearance in the movie along with Hema Malini. When recording the songs, Lata Mangeshkar had tears in her eyes and said to the director.

“Madan Mohan was like a brother to me. You are like my brother. I feel like I have gone in the past.”

Yash Chopra never had the opportunity to work with the late Madan Mohan and he wrote in the inside cover of the CD that he was at a loss when he planned to direct this movie, at the request of his son Aditya. The compositions had been written fifty years before the release of the movie. The role of “Sammiya Siddiqui,” played by Rani Mukherjee was originally offered to Aishwarya Rai and the scenes, in which “Veer Pratap Singh” is seen in a jail, were all filmed in one day. Director and friend, Karan Johar designed the costume for his friend Shah Rukh Khan, while the director of photography, Anil Mehta, slipped in sepia into the film, which gave it a feeling of nostalgia. The film was originally titled “_Yeh Kahan Aa Gaye Hum_ (_Where Are We Today_), a song from his own 1980’s film “_Silsila_” but Yash Chopra felt that _Veer – Zaara_ was better suited.

The film was a world wide success and won many awards. When the three leading actors, Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta an Rani Mukherjee, visited a Virgin Mega Store in the UK, an estimated five thousand fans turned up to see them.

2005 saw the release of the super hit comedy _No Entry_ but it was the following year that a film, directed by Karan Johar, raised controversial issues regarding marriage and breakup.

_Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (_Never Say Goodbye_)_

Dev Saran, a successful, married soccer player, meets Maya, who is about to marry Rishi Talwar and realises that she may be having second thoughts. But Dev realises that Maya is doing this because she feels indebted to Samarjeet Talwar(also known as “sexy Sam”) as he’s been like a father to her. Despite this and Dev informing her about her thoughts, Maya marries Rishi and Dev has an accident, thus ending his career and depends on his wife Rhea, who becomes a successful magazine editor. Years later, Maya and Dev meet and this leads to extramarital affair and thus breaks up of their marriages.

The idea of making this film was first thought of by Karan Johar while he was in London, after watching the movie _Before Sunset_ and also while having dinner at a restaurant, he overheard a couple breaking up amicably. The role of “Maya Talwar” was initially offered to Kajol, as Rani Mukherjee was to play the role of “Rhea Saran.” But Kajol was unavailable and was already involved in another film, though she did briefly appear in a son sequence. Ajay Devgan was offered the role of “Rishi Talwar” but he refused. Karan Johar asked Shah Rukh Khan to direct the controversial hotel room scene, but Khan, feeling uncomfortable in doing it, asked Amitabh Bachchan, who played the role of “Samarjeet Talwar,” to direct it over the phone. The film shooting took place on 90 day schedule in the USA and the remaining in studios at Mumbai.

_Om Shanti Om_(_Om Peace Om_)

Released in 2007, this starred Shah Rukh Khan and introduced a new actress to the industry, Deepika Padukone. In the 1970’s, an aspiring actor is killed by thugs who work for a film producer as he tries to save the woman, a senior actress, who he loves when the building she is in is set alight. Years pass and he is re – born and is a superstar. But soon he remembers his past birth and is out to seek revenge.

Directed by Farah Khan, the film went onto win five Filmfare Awards and was nominated for five others, three at the IIFA, one at Zee Cine AWARDS. It also won an award for Best Composer at the Asian Film Awards. The song “Deewangi Deewangi” which is filmed after the filmfare awards take place in the movie had thirty three stars from the industry taking part. This was almost identical to the 1980’s movie _Naseeb_,. But along with the success came controversies. Actor Manoj Kumar felt that he was made fun of when his look alike in the film turns up for a movie premiere and security guards asks him for an ID card. He is shown a driving licence photo in which he is covering his face with a hand. In another scene “Om Prakash Mahkija”, the character played by Shah Rukh Khan, in a drunken state, claims to be Manoj Kumar and covers his face with his hand. Manoj Kumar was said to be offended by such scenes and upon knowing about this, Shah Rukh Khan and Farah Khan apologised to him. But in 2008, before its TV premiere, the veteran actor filed for a stay of injunction on the movie being shown. Sony TV, premiering the movie, was ordered edit the scenes. The court also ordered for theme not to be shown on any form whether on the internet, TV or DVD until this was done. This was done and the film was premiered on Sony TV. But later, Manoj Kumar filed cases against Shah Rukh Khan, his wife Gauri Khan and Farah Khan for not keeping their promise of deleting the scenes when they said they would. There was also a case of plagiarism. Writer Ajay Monga, who wrote scripts for movies such as _Corporate_ and _Fashion_, filed a petition at the High court in Mumbai, claiming that the film had been lifted from a script that he had e – mailed Shah Rukh Khan when he was filming in Malaysia. The Film Writers Association investigated this and informed Red Chillies (Shah Rukh and Gauri Khan’s Production Company) that it had found similarities in the film as well as in Monga’s script. In another case, the daughter of the late Bimal Roy, claimed that the second half of the movie was similar to her father’s movie, _Madhumati_ which had be released in 1959.

The decade also saw films such as _Singh is Kingg_ and _Mumbai Meri Jaan (_This is Mumbai My Darling_) being released. The latter was based on the aftermath of the bombing of the trains in 2006 when 209 people were killed.

In November 2008, the terrorists struck Mumbai and people were scared to venture out, thus leading to cinema hall being empty. In December, Yashraj films, released the movie _Rab Na Bana Di Jodi- (_Couple Made in Heaven_), starring Shah Rukh Khan and introducing the new actress, Anoushka Sharma. The film, was not only a success but it also pulled the audiences back into the cinema halls and the multiplexes. A few weeks after the release of this film, another film, _Ghajini_, a remake of the original Tamil film, _Memento_starring Aamir Khan, was released. This went onto break all box office records. The year .ended with movies doing well at the Box office, but the following year, the slump that had taken place during the terror attack on Mumbai, re – appeared and films with big budgets and superstars, failed to continue the upsurge of successful films. Films such as _Chandni Chowk To China_, starring Akshaye Kumar and Deepika Padukone and _Bilu_, starring Shah Rukh Khan, Irfan Khan the former Miss Universe, Lara Dutta, also failed at the Box office. What didn’t help was the strike that had been looming on the horizon.

2009 - The Bitter Strike.

A bitter strike within Bollywood” had been looming for a while towards the end of March, there were indications that a strike was inevitable due to a dispute between the multiplexes on one side and the directors and the producers on the other. The dispute was over revenue sharing and the last film to be released before the strike was _8x10 Tasveer_ (_8x10 Photo_), starring Akshaye Kumar, a thriller that was directed by Nagesh Kukunoor. During this time, not a single Bollywood film was released in any part of the world and those single screen cinemas, showing Bollywood films, had no option but to shut its doors to the audience and suffer the losses. But after two months, this came to an end after it was decided that the revenue share would be judged on the audience reaction and how it would be shared after the release of the movies.

_New York_

Set against the 9 / 11 as a background, this was about three college friends who study in New York and how their lives change after the terror attack on the Twin Towers. The movie starred John Abraham, Katrina Keif and Neil Nitin Mukesh, the grandson of the legendary playback singer Mukesh.

The script for this movie was submitted to the US authorities as the producers wanted to film this in the city itself while John Abraham studied the Quran as he prepared for his role. It was also the first movie that was a success at the Box office.

Films being released as soon as possible as the dispute that had taken place had been costly and many were eager to recover their costs. But many didn’t succeed at the Box office. One of the few that did was _Love Aaj Kal_ (_Love Today Tommorow_), which was released on 31 July and starred Saif Ali Khan, son of the famous Indian cricketer, Nawab of Pataudi, Deepika Padukone, Rishi Kapoor and a Brazilian model, Giselli Monteiro. Initially the latter had auditioned for a role to play the part of Saif Ali Khan’s non Indian girlfriend but the director, Imitiaz Ali, had been in search for someone to play the role of young “Harleem,” but after watching her audition, the director’s wife suggested that she play the role of young “Harleem.” The role of elder “Harleem” was played by actress Neetu Singh, wife of Rishi Kapoor and mother of actor, Ranbir Kapoor.

However, it was at the end of the decade that two films that would break the “drought of hit movies” were released.

_Paa_(_Father_)

A thirteen year old boy, suffering from progenia (also known as Hutchinson–Gilford syndrome – a rare and severe genetic condition which causes ageing to accelerate, is manifested at an early age, which occurs in one in eight million births), tries to prove everyone that he is a man with a mission. But his mother hides the truth from him. This starred Amitabh Bachchan as the thirteen year old “Auro,” Vidya Balan and Abhishek Bachchan.

What was compelling about this movie was, not that it starred father and son but the roles were reversed. Amitabh Bachchan, father of Abhishek, played the role of the thirteen year old, while Abhishek Bachchan played the role of the father. The filming took place in the UK and Malaysia. The make up for Amitabh Bachchan’s prosthetic was by Hollywood’s Christian Tinsley and this to be applied to the actor is said to have taken up to several hours. The movie was produced by Abhishek Bachchan with the family company AB Corp Ltd and went onto win four awards out of fourteen, which included, Best Actor (Amitabh Bachchan), and Best Actress (Vidya Balan).

However, the film that went onto become the highest grossing Bollywood film (grossing Rupees 400 crores (US$ 86 million) worldwide), was _3 Idiots_, about two friends who embark on a journey to find a lost friend, during which they encounter a log forgotten bet, a wedding they must crash and a funeral that goes wrong. But they also begin on a journey that takes them into the past and of their friend.

With the success of the film also came controversy. The credit to author of “Five Point Someone,” on which the movie was based, Chetan Bhagat, came at the end instead of the beginning. One New Year’s Eve, the author made a post on his website that he had been told that the film was 2.5% based on the book but when he watched it, he felt it was 70%. He felt he was misled by the makers. In response to this, the producer, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, lost his “cool” during a press conference and told a reporter to “shut up” when asked if the movie had been lifted from the book. He later apologised for his behaviour. The director, Rajkumar Hirani, went on to say: “We have officially bought the rights for the film. We drew a contract with him and it clearly mentions about the position of his credit. With open eyes he had seen the contract, consulted his lawyer and signed the agreement [...] In the contract, we have said that the title would be given in the rolling credits. We haven't changed the font size. We haven't increased the speed of the title. It's exactly there where it was agreed to be.” Bhagat later aplogised

The following year would see a film, _My Name is Khan_, which would see Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol work together for the first time since _Kabhi Kushi Kabhie Gham_ (_Sometimes Happiness Sometimes Sadness_) and one that would go onto break several records worldwide. In this, Shah Rukh Khan would play the role of a character who suffers from Asperger Syndrome (An autistic disorder most notable for the often great discrepancy between the intellectual and social abilities of those who suffer from it).

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