Earlier this week, one-time maverick Ram Gopal Varma and the current indie favorite of Bollywood Anurag Kashyap got into a bit of banter on Twitter. The cross-grained RGV chided Kashyap on the failure of his latest release, Bombay Velvet.
That Bombay Velvet is Anurag Kashyap’s worst film and probably one of Bollywood’s worst disasters, is evident already. But it isn’t half as bad a film, as some others that had a ton of cash flowing, yet came out croppers at the box office. We take a look at some of Bollywood’s most (in)famous big-budget disasters.
NB: These are not necessarily the most expensive or the worst films in any particular order; just high-budget films that are generally considered to be bad films and bombed at the box office. All figures are estimates gathered from the internet.
The film was made at a budget of Rs. 30 crores – average film budgets ranged between 3 crores to 15 crores back then – and released in the peak winter holiday season on 21st December, hoping to capture its target audience around Christmas vacations. The film many said, was ghost-directed by Ajay Devgn.
Unfortunately, its ‘resemblance’ to 1965 classic The Sound of Music, a long and poor screenplay and insipid lead performances crashed the film. Barring a 5-minute dhaansu cameo by Sanju Baba, this film is a big yawn fest.
A 125 crore turkey, this film became Bollywood’s most expensive film in 2009 until that record was broken by later films (over and over again almost every 6 months!).
Plenty of (brilliantly done) underwater shots, expensive action choreography and props, a long schedule in the Bahamas, and the combined paychecks of Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Dutt, Kylie Minogue, and A R Rahman, took the film’s budget so overboard, that its flimsy and cliched story about under-sea bounty just couldn’t sustain the film.
Investing Rs. 87 crores in a solo AB Jr. starter was always going to be a catapult waiting to ricochet back at you. The producers of Drona realized this when the film bombed badly at the box office.
A superhero-ish film, without much of the excitement of a superhero film, Drona was a hodge-podge of all imaginary rubbish that the makers could come up with.
ROOP KI RANI CHORON KA RAJA
At a time when 50% of the film budgets registered in lakhs, RKRCKR was made at a whopping Rs. 9 crores.
Despite being saddled by a silly and shoddy script and having been left halfway by Shekhar Kapoor (the original director), the film’s release was being looked forward to owing to the pairing of Anil Kapoor and Jackie Shroff (a pair more revered than many actor-actresses pairs back then), blockbuster cassette sales (the music sales figures are still one of Bollywood’s most profitable), and Sridevi!
It was comedian Satish Kaushik’s directorial debut, who still fondly recalls a call from Boney Kapoor (the film’s producer) a day after the film was released saying “Picture baith gayi”.
Fun Fact: Arshad Warsi choreographed the title track of RKRCKR.
What do you do with a superstar son, a skillful director, a Mexican hottie, a salacious PR team, and Rs. 60 crores at hand? Flush it all down the drain, if Rakesh Roshan is to believe.
With almost everything going its way, Kites was what started as a dream crossover project to launch Hrithik onto the world (Hollywood?) stage. Rakesh Roshan even had a Brett Ratner cut of the film for American audiences.
Unfortunately, what he had at hand was a cliched and recycled script. The film’s failure magnifies when you realize that Reliance Entertainment had bought worldwide distribution rights of Kites for (hold on to your chair … ) Rs. 150 crores!
After roughly 15 years of a merrily successful Bollywood career as an actor, Jackie Shroff decided to pour all his life’s savings to trust a man called Kaizad Gustad. Gustad had earlier directed the Rahul Bose starrer Bombay Boys, which gave us the iconic Javed Jaffrey track Mumbhai.
Despite mainstream criticism, Gustad was hailed by some as a new-age director waiting to change the dynamic of film-making in India. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), that never happened. And it all began with Boom.
For one, nobody liked Amitabh Bachchan doing what was perceived to be B-grade stuff in a film helmed by a hitherto unknown director. The film’s titillation and profanities were all a mere clip and had nothing to do whatsoever with the actual story; since there was none of it!
To add to it, the film overshot its budget over and over again. Censor problems and the negative pre-release buzz made it hard for the film to find takers and when it finally did release ended up earning only a small percent of the estimated Rs. 16 crores invested in it.
Boom is often considered to be one of the worst films ever made in India and left Jackie Shroff nearly bankrupt.
LOVE STORY 2050
With VFX firms from Australia and New Zealand signed for the film and Kareena Kapoor on board, Harry Baweja (who had made some of the most cringe-worthy films with Ajay Devgn in the 90s), was all set to launch his son Harman Baweja in this Rs. 60 million sci-fi enterprise.
Until Kareena (who had been paid Rs. 3 crores) dropped out. Priyanka Chopra (Harman’s rumored girlfriend at the time) walked in her place. The film was back on track.
There was one problem though – the film was corny and silly as nothing you had seen before. For all the hype around its special effects, they turned out just about fine and had no impact whatsoever in a film that was handicapped by a benign script. It also did not help that the film’s leading man was a mere Hrithik Roshan clone in his launch project.
Baweja did go to town yelling ‘sabotage’ – Imran Khan’s debut Jaane Tu Yaa Jaane Naa (produced by Aamir Khan) released on the same day – but the fact is Love Story 2050 was a poor film in all respects, and its disaster was imminent.