Indian box office revenues increased by 40% last year in what may prove to be a landmark year.

Films like Rang De Basanti, Fanaa, Krrish, Kabie Alvida Na Kehna, Phir Hera Pheri, Lage Raho Munnabhai and Dhoom 2 were the frontrunners.

The cops-and-robbers action chase film, Dhoom 2, led the pack taking $37m (Rs 1.65bn). Its closest contender was Krrish with $31m (Rs 1.35 bn.)

Higher ticket prices, the burgeoning multiplex business, greater emphasis on marketing, slicker products, release of a larger number of prints and a host of sequels contributed to the rise.

One discernible change last year was that audiences snubbed what would once have been big-budget A-list star bankers, such as Jaan-E Mann, Baabul and Bhagam Bhag.

There were also successes where Bollywood broke out of its own formula, with films about a superhero (Krrish), social reawakening of the youth (Rang De Basanti), revival of Mahatma Gandhi (Lage Raho Munnabhai), arranged marriages (Vivah) and extra-marital affairs (Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna) dominating the box office.

Hollywood films revenues in the Indian market paled in comparison with Casino Royale ($0.9m) Superman Returns, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and The Da Vinci Code among the higher ranking films.

In spite of these figures, the Indian film industry and analysts remain cautious about 2007.

Content will continue to be the dominant factor for growth along with retail infrastructure (multiplexes and refurbished single screens) support.

The overseas market remains a key area for expansion especially as it currently comprises only 10% of revenues for Indian producers. New platforms like broadband, DTH, mobile and home entertainment are likely to be other significant growth drivers.

Box office top earners, 2006

1. Dhoom 2
Cost: $0.6m Revenue: $37m

2. Krrish
Cost: $0.5m Revenue: $31m

3. Lage Raho Munnabhai
Cost: $0.3m Revenue: $29.3m

4. Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna
Cost: $1.1m Revenue: $29.3m

5. Rang De Basanti
Cost: $0.7m Revenue: $27m

Source: Film Information