Once upon a time there was a film maker called Vikram Bhatt who hit gold with whatever he made. Films like ‘Fareb’ (adulterous drama), ‘Ghulam’ (action social), ‘Kasoor’ (courtroom drama), ‘Raaz’ (musical horror) and ‘Awara Paagal Deewana’ (action comedy) traversed genres and proved to be blockbusters.
Then started a bad professional phase for this Bhatt protégé who has now delivered an astonishing 11 back to back box office duds. With his last success being ‘Awara Paagal Deewana’ (2002), it has been nothing short of a harrowing five years for the film maker who is longing to taste success.
‘Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage’ (2002) was hardly an event in spite of coming together of Hrithik Roshan and Amisha Patel after ‘Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai’ whereas ‘Footpath’ (2003), the debut film of Emraan Hashmi failed, too, in spite of Bipasha Basu’s presence. ‘Inteha’ (2003), the debut film of Ashmit Patel, Amisha Patel’s brother, was undoubtedly a badly made film but ‘Aetbaar’ (2004) was a shock box office failure in spite of heavyweight presence of Amitabh Bachchan along with real life couple John Abraham and Bipasha Basu.
Much before Ramu decided to remake ‘Sholay’ and turn it into a fiasco called ‘Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag’,, Vikram Bhatt attempted an ode to the classic with his ‘Elaan’ (2005) but after taking a box office good initial, this Mithun Chakraborty comeback as a high-profile-well-educated ‘Gabbar’ too failed. ‘Jurm’ (2005) seemed like a childish attempt at making a thriller as it didn’t even take off, hence adding to the tally of Bobby Deol flops.
Comparatively Akshay Kumar’s ‘Deewane Huye Paagal’ (2005), an extension of ‘Awara Paagal Deewana’ managed to just about break even, but ‘Ankahee’ (2006), one of Bhatt’s best efforts in last few years, was a box office disaster. In fact Bhatt had quoted before the release of the film, “Even if my film breaks even, I would be quite happy”. Sadly, the collections were quite disappointing for the film that had one of the best performances of Aftab, Esha Deol and Amisha.
2007 had been particularly unkind to Bhatt with his erotic thriller ‘Red’ proving to be red for it’s distributors in spite of some chartbuster tracks by Himesh Reshammiya. But the biggest blow came in the form of ‘Life Mein Kabhie Kabhiee’.
The film which had to bear an aftermath of back to back failures of Bhatt was ‘Fear’. A horror film with newcomers, it was relegated to the cans for months and was later not considered worthy enough to be released at the theaters. As a result, it quietly saw a DVD and Internet release. His ‘Speed’ failed at the box office as well and after the failure of the film, Vikram Bhatt had commented, “With the release of ‘Speed’, a terminally ill patient is finally dead.”
During the same time, his personal life and relationship with Amisha Patel was making more news than his films and Vikram Bhatt decided to take a break from direction. He started concentrating on presenting films like ‘Mumbai Salsa’ while going the whole hog in ensuring that he came fully charged with his next film.
The result is there to be seen since after a year, Vikram Bhatt has a new release to his name in the form of ‘1920’. A period horror flick starring Rajneesh Duggal and Adah Sharma in the lead, ‘1920’ releases today and promises to send a shiver down the spine.
One just hopes that this horror saga gets some much needed respite for Vikram Bhatt who would be looking at this film finally getting an elusive HIT tag to his name.