Bollywood's Biggest Grossing Debuts

Did you know that on evaluating the earnings of Bollywood movies, with adjustments for inflation and other factors in place, Uday Chopra (and you have no idea of the tortures yet to come if you don't know yet that he is learning film-making at UCLA) makes it to the list of actors whose debut stands among the all-time biggest grossers? Did you know what special recognition Sooraj Barjatya of Rajshree has, talking of big-earners? His first serving Maine Pyaar Kiya was the 2nd highest earner (with all economics taken care of) in its decade and his third movie Hum Saath Saath Hain also made it to the top ten earners in its own decade but thats not all. His second film Hum Aapke Hain Koun is said to have changed the complete picture of the distribution and earnings of Indian films. It was a defining moment in Indian Cinema history since its demand went so high that it was distributed to only a limited number of Cinema Halls which met certain eligibility criteria and this pushed many a Cinema to actually upgrade their standards just to obtain the prints! This also marked a significant increase in the earnings of subsequent large banner films in India as reported here.

Well, enough of trivia for now. Let me ask you a question here. What comes to your mind if I say Bollywood's biggest all-time earners? Well, keep your answers floating in your head and answer another one. What about Bollywood debuts? Now then, any intersection points? So Bollywood has had, till date, three movies crossing the 300 Crore mark in earning, 3 Idiots, Hum Aapke Hain Koun and the recent addition Ek Tha Tiger and a handful of them crossing the 100 Crore mark. Well, first let me emphasize that all the figures used are taken from internet (mostly box office india website and wikipedia) and also, most of the time I will be talking of inflation-adjusted gross earnings as reported on the box office website. What my little research told me is that the exact figures are not that exact and hence, don't really matter since the comparisons are the only thing that hold meaning and our figures are indicative enough for that. So then lets embark upon our today's menu of movies that had debutants in lead roles and that stand among the greatest earners in Indian cinema (ah yes, I have kept 100 Cr. as the benchmark).

Thappad se darr nahi lagta sahab, pyaar se lagta hai. You already knew it with the first word, didn't you! The typical-indian-woman-look Sonakshi Sinha with her playground sized forehead is at the top of our list. So Sonakshi Sinha was offered Dabangg by Salman Khan who saw her dancing at some function and Sonakshi later revealed that after this, she lost 30 kgs in 2 years to suit herself for the role. Inference? Salman Khan was really drunk in that function and had fallen for some kind of tribal rhino dance or something (did someone say lap dance? No, no that can't be, Salman is still alive). Anyway, so Dabangg (did you know that it was the directing debut of Anurag Kashyap's brother Abhinav Kashyap) grossed around 215 Cr. and Sonakshi has since found another blockbuster in Rowdy Rathore. Lets not talk about Joker because I still have to finish this article.

2008 blockbuster Ghajini was the first Indian movie to cross the 100 Cr. mark (in net earnings) and our list features it because its adjusted earnings were around 190 Cr. and it had Asin in her Bollywood debut. Asin had already been around for quite some time in the malayalam movie scene and had also acted in the original Tamil Ghajini from 2005. So well we can't really compare her "debut" with the others, but yes, she had more than a sizeable contribution in the movie unlike most of the others I will discuss today. Amir Khan obviously and expectedly ran away with all accolades for his perfection, dedication, attention to detail and what not, but Asin's big break in Hindi cinema has earned her a lot of recognition and further success in movies like Ready (which is again one of the biggest grossers in Hindi cinema ever).

The same year 2008 saw Aditya Chopra's return to direction (after Mohabbatein) with Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. Anushka Sharma was casted to represent small-town Punjab and she was chosen from among hundreds of girls through rigorous auditions for acting, dance, looks etc. The movie made over 158 Cr. at the box office and became Yash Raj's and SRK's biggest grossing film till that time and once again proved that big banners and big-name heroes can really pave a path for a newcomer heroine (please, nothing intended here) in the industry. Since, Anushka has been among films and is also starring in the upcoming SRK starrer Jab Tak Hai Jaan (earlier called A Yash Chopra Romance).

Deepika Padukone debuted in Bollywood with Farah Khan's Om Shanti Om which registered around 149 Cr. at the box office. Deepika, with some modelling and acting experience in Kannada film industry was chosen by Farah and is said to have been given plenty of time around SRK (six months) to mingle well before the movie started shooting (SRK, being one of the busiest stars around and the most sought after too, meeting a newbie often for lunches and dinners, as she claims, doesn't sound fishy to me at all). So OSO did pretty well and so did Deepika in her re-incarnation based double role. She has had enough appearances since, and to say the least, has disappointed me in terms of the expectations I set of her. Also, lately she looks like becoming huge (yes physically) and broad-shouldered and thus, a little masculine (a very personal opinion though).

You will eventually see how most of these blockbusters are about a big-name-big-fame hero and a newcomer heroine and a tried-and-tested remake-story plot. The 2011 Ajay Devgan action film Singham crossed the 140 Cr. mark at box office and hence, qualifies Kajal Agarwal (you really deserve a pat on the back if you knew that name) for this list of big-grossing debut films. The critics praised Kajal's eyes more than her acting (you can praise something only after seeing it, to be fair to the critics) and Ajay Devgan surely can make some action sequences justifiable, as he showed in Bol Bachchan (my recent mistake). Despite a non-existent storyline and a very weak looking antagonist, Singham, with all the Sallu-bhai inspired hit-movie-making-formula, went on to become one of the biggest earners in Indian Cinema. Hail Salman Khan. And for the record, Kajal had played a role earlier in Kyun, Ho Gaya Na but this was her first lead appearance and hence, appears here. For me, the greatest gift Singham gave to me, was the youtube hot-favorite trailer featuring someone else (you-know-who) in place of Ajay.

Next in the descending order of earnings is one of my all-time favorites Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai. Yes, I have watched the movie like a 50 times (just thrice in a Cinema though) and like every school-child in those days, have danced to the catchy Ek Pal Ka Jeena tune at every possible chance. Rajesh Roshan's music was a phenomenal aspect of the film and Rakesh Roshan's story-telling and Honey Irani's (you can find out of her talent with the fact that she gave birth to Farhan and Zoya Akhtar) screenplay did wonders to the debut of Hrithik Roshan and Amisha Patel. Though the current status of these two stars are quite incomparable, they couldn't have asked for a better debut. With the film making over 138 Cr. at the box office (yes, with inflation adjusted), Hrithik became a superstar overnight with his dancing and acting abilities and a hot favorite among teen girls. Amisha went on to act in another huge grosser Gadar but later faded off (and I'm sure that is because of her asthma-patient-like over-acting in the sad scenes). For me, the best and most unexpected part of the movie was Raj, not being "Rohit transported from Mumbai to Australia through ocean". 

This one I will talk about least, since it was 
probably the greatest disappointment I have ever faced inside a Cinema Hall (and hence, deserves a video). A very poor, old, dying, and crying for mercy plot in a tragic love story and a blunder in choosing a seriously export-quality-garbage actress in Nargis Fakhri (I know lot of you out there like her for a lot many of her pics over the net, but I am telling you despite all those, I hate her) to replace the earlier choice Kareena Kapoor made Rockstar an above average movie despite Ranbir going out of his skins in many a shot and Rehman producing probably the best album he ever has, in terms of versatility. The movie grossed around 108 Cr. at the box office and hence Nargis Fakhri (oh, I really, really hate her, take a look at her face even in the thumbnail of the video - My God, how hasn't she gotten killed yet) qualifies for this list of mine. Rockstar's Ranbir and Rockstar's Rehman specially will remain memorable for me, and Nargis Fakhri, equally forgettable. I also hear Akshay Kumar has her signed for a 3-film contract. Oh Akshay, what higher degrees of tortures do you have in store for us, after Joker (which also reminds me that Nargis has lips which won't need the makeup for playing Joker's role in a batman movie)?

The last one in today's menu I am serving is the 2001 Amir Khan starrer Lagaan. Excellent story-telling, brilliant music, Amir Khan, Gowarikar and what else you need. Lagaan made it to the Oscar nominations and also finds a place in TIME Magazine's all-time best 25 sports movies. Gracy Singh's debut was as powerful as mellow was her disappearance from the silver screen in a few years time. She did well in acting, dancing and I am glad she was chosen after rejecting Amisha Patel who had offered to do this role (so had Rani Mukherji, but her voice!!). Lagaan also became the third movie in Hindi language to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and makes it to the list of all-time epic favorites in India. Gracy Singh though had played some roles in movies like Hu Tu Tu and Hum Aapke Dil Me Rehte Hain, she qualifies here because this was her debut lead role.

Now, as I had mentioned earlier to scare you, that Uday Chopra actually makes it into this list, and indeed he does, with Mohabbatein, but I really didn't find any of the six (you know who all) in lead roles in there, with Mr. Bachchan and Mr. Khan eating it all up. And, I am really relieved to know that Kim Sharma looks the way she does, because her mother was Japanese (yeah, I am evil). Also, I wanted to include some "other" pic of Nargis Fakhri for this article, you know, which can be a worthy thumbnail for the article to attract some unlikely audience (yeah, now I feel the horns coming out my head finally).

So here's hoping that Salman lives another 50 years and makes another 50 of those money-eating-machine movies with newcomer heroines who look like his ex-loves, and provides Bollywood with monumental personalities like Sonakshi Sinha (looking at her, I wonder if the human race was like chickens and some larger predator used to feed on us, she will make one hell of a barbecue, won't she !!).

And yes, keep on rocking in the free world. Its really free, see? I said so many bad things about so many big stars of the country and I am still smiling.


{ The Guru } at: September 16, 2012 at 10:38 PM said...


{ Vikas Singhal } at: September 16, 2012 at 10:39 PM said...

Bhai video mast h......

{ Ankur Singh } at: November 5, 2012 at 10:13 AM said...

I love  sonakshi

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