The industry looks forward to year 2001 with hope.
All the more so because 2000 has been an almost hopeless year.
With just one universal blockbuster (Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai), one semi hit (Mohabbatein) and a few successes though not universal, nobody could have dreamt of a worse year for the industry.
2000 is gone. Does that mean the flops have, too?
While it cannot be said what will and what will not score at the turnstiles in the 12 months of 2001, some films do nonetheless fill one with optimism for the year ahead.
Here are some:
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham
To begin with, the most promising of this year's releases seems to be Karan Johar's Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham.
For more reasons than one. First, Karan may be just one film old, but his script and direction in his maiden venture, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, were so refreshing that his new film raises tremendous expectations.
Second, the formidable star cast of KKKG could be anyone's envy. Three superstars together for the first time! Rubbing shoulders with Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan are Jaya Bachchan, Kajol and Kareena Kapoor.
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham will be released only towards the close of this year -- December 14 -- though.
The subject is a mix of all the ingredients of a wholesome entertainer. The few (besides the stars of the film) who have heard the subject of KKKG swear that it is a brilliant mix of comedy, emotion and family drama.
Amitabh Bachchan has even gone on record to say that it is a "mind-blowing subject".
Karan is sparing no effort to give it his best shot, with ample support from father Yash Johar, on his part, who is on a no-expenses-spared binge towards this project.
Subhash Ghai, the producer-director with the most consistent track record in Hindi cinema, will release his Yaadein in July/August 2001.
Ever since he started work on the film, Ghai has been working like a man possessed. Even after his Rs. 100-crore IPO, if there is anything that excites him more than the money, it is Yaadein.
Hrithik Roshan and Kareena Kapoor who came together in KN... PH only to part ways after a couple of days' shooting, have been teamed once again in Yaadein. The chemistry between the two young actors is said to be fantastic.
As always, Ghai's music holds a lot of promise. Insiders who have heard a couple call them "outstanding". Ghai certainly seems to have inspired Anu Malik and Anand Bakshi.
'This summer an Indian will rise'. So says the publicity brochure of Sunny Deol's Indian. Words of assurance. Of determination. Of vengeance. Of an Indian rising once again with renewed vigour.
Sunny Deol looks resolute enough to strike back with Indian, which promises to brighten up the screens around the summer of 2001. Which means the film is being shot at a super-hectic pace.
It is being directed by N Maharajan, whose name as script-writer has been associated with some big hits down South.
The buzz in the trade is that Sunny Deol has had many brainstorming sessions with his writer-director.
Tabu was to play Sunny's leading lady in Indian but the choice later fell upon Shilpa Shetty. Dharmendra and Sunny will be spending a fortune on its making, it is believed. If the film clicks, it will bring in even greater fortunes for the Deols.
So if you hear Sunny mouth the lines 'Be Indian, see Indian' in the sunny summer, don't be surprised!
Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who made it to the top league with Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, is now busy with Devdas - or is it Aaj Ka Devdas?
Known for his keen visual sense, Bhansali is trying to supercede his visual beauty of HDDCS.
His sets for Devdas at Bombay's Film City have become the talk of the trade. Never before has such a huge, costly and colourful set been erected for a Hindi film.
The film stars Madhuri Dixit, Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai in three leading roles. Music is scored by Ismail Darbar who gave enchanting melodies in Bhansali's earlier film, too.
Reportedly, the audio rights of Devdas have fetched the highest price for music so far.
Rajkumar Santoshi is silently working towards proving to the world that he is still a force to reckon with. His Lajja, nearing completion, boasts of an impressive cast -- Manisha Koirala, Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Ajay Devgan, Rekha, Madhuri Dixit and Mahima Chaudhry.
Lajja will be different from most other films in the sense that it is episodical in nature. The episodes are linked by a common thread to make the film a unique experience. The male and female stars (except Manisha) come in one episode each. Manisha is the common thread, linking the different episodes.
Haan... Maine Pyar Kiya
Dharmesh Darshan may have barely begun his Haan... Maine Pyar Kiya. But the film is sure to be released this year itself.
Music is the guy's strong point and he is supremely charged about its music.
A love triangle with a difference is how Dharmesh describes his fifth directorial venture. Akshay Kumar, Karisma Kapoor and Abhishek Bachchan are the three lead stars of the romantic story.
Music is being scored by Nadeem Shravan who, together with Dharmesh, have given two chart-busting albums in Raja Hindustani and Dhadkan.
Aamir Khan's maiden production venture, Lagaan, has generated a lot of curiosity value among the audience.
Shot entirely in Bhuj (Gujarat) in a single schedule, this Aamir starrer was to have hit the screens this month. But its post-production work is taking so long that the film has been postponed to May/June.
For finalising the release details, Aamir Khan met up with Rajshri people who have a distribution network in every circuit of India.
Nayak -- The Real Hero
Shankar, the famed director of Tamil films, is making a Hindi film for the first time.
Hindustani and Humse Hai Muqabla were his dubbed films which scored at the BO.
Now, Nayak -- The Real Hero, is making brisk progress. The remake of a Tamil superhit, the film is about a commoner who is offered the chief minister's post for a day.
Anil Kapoor plays the commoner-turned-CM. Rani Mukerji plays Anil's romantic ally. Amrish Puri, Johny Lever and Paresh Rawal comprise the formidable supporting cast with Sushmita Sen in a special appearance.
Music is by Shankar's favourite, A R Rahman.
On the cards are Boney Kapoor's Koi Mere Dil Se Poochhe in which Esha Deol makes her debut; David Dhawan's Jodi No 1 (Govinda-Sanjay Dutt) and Sajan Re Jhoot Mat Bolo (Govinda); Suneel Darshan's Ek Rishtaa -- The Bond Of Love (Amitabh-Akshay-Juhi-Karisma); and Chori Chori Chupke Chupke -- if its negative is released by the court. The hearing is tomorrow, January 9.