After a dull 2010, Bollywood has started 2011 on a high note. Four much anticipated films - "No One Killed Jessica", "Yamla Pagla Deewana", "Turning 30" and "Dhobi Ghat" - have opened to good reviews and profits at the box office.
"No One Killed Jessica", the year's first release Jan 7 that stars Rani Mukerji and Vidya Balan, is still going strong at the box office two weeks on and has grossed Rs.380 million ($8.3 million) so far. It has been co-produced by UTV Spotboy.
The film by Raj Kumar Gupta is based on the murder of model Jessica Lall in 1999 by Manu Sharma, son of former minister Venod Sharma, after she refused to serve him a drink at a club in New Delhi.
While Vidya triumphed with her non-glamorous and distraught portrayal of Jessica's sister Sabrina, Rani's unprecedented use of abuses as a journalist raised quite a few eyebrows.
"The film is still going strong at the box office and people are really appreciating the content as well as the acting by both the actresses. The occupancy is still 83 percent," Amit Awasthi, senior manager (programming and operations) of Spice Cinemas in Noida, told IANS.
The second film, which promised to be a lot of fun, was comedy caper "Yamla Pagla Deewana" starring Bollywood's Punjabi father and sons - Dharmendra, Bobby Deol and Sunny Deol. After "Apne", the Deols once again struck a chord with the audience but this time in a funny way.
Directed by Samir Karnik, the film also marks screen legend Dharmendra's 50 years in the industry. Made at a budget of Rs.260 million ($5.6 million) and released Jan 14, it raked in Rs.230 million ($5 million) in the opening weekend and the first week fetched Rs.350 million ($7.6 million).
" 'Yamla Pagla Deewana' is a complete masala film with romance, drama, thrill and emotion. The Deol family has a good fan following that is pulling crowds to the theatres," Yogesh Raizada, corporate head (cinemas) of Wave Cinemas, told IANS.
Awasthi added: "The hilarious last 30-minute climax has audiences in splits and they are really enjoying it."
"Turning 30", which released alongside "Yamla Pagla Deewana", is also doing well at the box office. Starring Gul Panag and Purab Kohli, it is made at a budget of approximately Rs.25 million ($550,000) and it has so far collected around Rs.50 million (over $1 million).
The movie is a light-hearted take on women either hitting a subconscious halt or turning a new leaf at the milestone age of 30.
After a year-long hiatus, Bollywood's 'Mr.Perfectionist' Aamir Khan returned to the big screen with "Dhobi Ghat". Made with a budget of Rs.50 million ($1 million), the film is Aamir's wife Kiran Rao's directorial debut and also stars Prateik Babbar.
This much-anticipated film also opened to good reviews Jan 21 and has grossed Rs.93 million in the first two days.
January ends with Madhur Bhandakar's debut attempt at a romantic comedy with "Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji" starring Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi, Omi Vaidya, Shruti Haasan and Shraddha Kapoor.
The Hindi film industry failed to set the cash registers ringing last year despite big budget outings starring A-listers. With only five hits in "Dabangg", "Golmaal 3", "Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai", "Peepli Live" and "Love Sex Aur Dhokha (LSD)", Bollywood suffered a net loss of about Rs.3 billion ($66 million) in 2010.