Bollywood is facing a serious downturn this year, after a string of high-profile flops and not a single local box office success in the first six months of 2002.
Inspired by 2001's hits including Lagaan and Gadar, a number of period films were launched this year. The two big features on Indian revolutionary Bhagat Singh including Raj Kumar Santoshi's The Legend Of Bhagat Singh and Guddu Dhanoa's 23rd March 1931 Shaheed failed to generate any significant interest among the public.
Hopes for the rest of the year are now pinned on Shah Rukh Khan starrer Devdas and the first major Indian feature to be completely shot in Los Angeles, Kaante. Meanwhile well-known Hindi filmmakers Subhash Ghai and Yash Chopra have announced plans to launch new projects in the next quarter of 2002.
Despite the disappointing performances of period dramas so far this year, the latest subject being pursued by Indian filmmakers is the former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. A film on Gandhi is being scripted by veteran writer Kamleshwar with Hindi film actress Tabu lined up for the lead. A second film, Bandung Sonata is being made by the Chinese Government, in which actress Perizaad Zorabian takes the role of Gandhi.