Bollywood is all about selling dreams. The bigger the dream, the better the opportunity of raking in the moolah.
In a bid to win over a large spectrum of audience this summer season, Indian film production houses are upping the expense by pumping more money into their projects.
The starting line in this cut-throat race is Rs150 million (Dh13.1m) – anything less is considered chump change for a production budget.
Flashy production sets, foreign locales, sophisticated technology and A-list stars are all on the menu this summer, which kicked off last week with Yash Raj Films' Tashan.
And even though Tashan, which cost an estimated Rs380m, bombed at the box office, that does not mean the same fate awaits other mega-budget movies.
Emirates Business analyses the top Bollywood films that will be the hottest tickets during this scorching summer.
Star cast: Amitabh Bachchan, child artiste Aman Siddique, Juhi Chawla and Shah Rukh Khan (special appearance)
Story line: Currently showing in cinemas around the UAE, the film shows a naughty child team up with a ghost living in his house.
Strengths: Amitabh and Ravi Chopra – a combination that set the box office on fire with the film Baghban (2003).
Weakness: Children's films traditionally have a limited audience, barring few like Taare Zameen Par.
Expected outcome: The film will do well with the urban multiplex-going audience. But it may take a hit with the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) matches, which will deter many from heading to the cinemas.
Star cast: Emraan Hashmi and Sonal Chauhan
Story line: Releasing next Thursday in the UAE, it is inspired by the real-life cricket match-fixing scandal that shook the sporting world.
Strengths: Cricket is almost a religion in India and a film on the subject always finds a ready audience. Plus, the current IPL fever may work in Jannat's favour.
Weakness: None of the stars bring any added value to the film.
Budget: About Rs150m.
Expected outcome: The film may be a slow starter but it will pick up pace because of its controversial subject. It is also expected to do well in Pakistan, where it is being commercially released.
Star cast: Salman Khan, Sunny Deol, Bobby Deol, Mithun Chakraborty and Preity Zinta
Story line: Two boys on a road trip across India come across real-life heroes. Releasing on June 6.
Strengths: The on-screen charisma of Salman Khan and the Deol brothers will work in its favour.
Weakness: Director Samir Karnik has yet to prove his directorial prowess after two duds, Kyon… Ho Gaya Naa and Nanhe Jaiselmer.
Budget: About Rs350m.
Expected outcome: The film will be welcomed by India's mass rural population thanks to its star cast.
Star cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan
Story line: A sequel to Ram Gopal Varma's underworld flick Sarkar, it will take the story forward very much in similar vein of The Godfather and its sequels. The film is set to release on June 6 during the Indian International Film Awards.
Strengths: The entire Bachchan clan will be seen together for the first time after the Kajra Re item number from Bunty Aur Babli, at which point Rai and Bachchan Jr were not officially dating.
Weakness: Varma's credibility is at an all-time low after a series of recent debacles, including Ram Gopal Verma Ki Aag and Darling.
Expected outcome: The film will ensure a strong opening and will do particularly well in the Indian state of Maharashtra – of which Mumbai is the capital – as Amitabh's character is loosely based on the Maharashtrian politician Bal Thackeray.
Star cast: Himesh Reshammiya and Urmila Matondkar
Story line: A remake of Subhash Ghai's reincarnation drama, Karz, which is releasing on June 13.
Strengths: Reshammiya's decision to steer clear of the original film's music and create a whole new soundtrack. Plus, Om Shanti Om, which had a similar plot, rocked the international box office last year as 2007's biggest grossing film. Finally, Urmila Matondkar in a negative role should bring in the crowds.
Weakness: Comparisons to the original and OSO may affect the film's success. And Reshammiya is certainly no Shah Rukh Khan.
Budget: About Rs300m.
Expected outcome: Reshammiya has proved his universal box office pull with his debut film Aap Kaa Surroor and in all probability he will repeat this act once again in India. Overseas is another story.
God Tussi Great Ho
Star cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan and Priyanka Chopra
Story line: Inspired by Bruce Almighty, Bachchan plays God, while Khan gets a chance to fill in God's shoes for a week. The film is set to release in the UAE sometime next month.
Strengths: The on-screen chemistry between Bachchan and Khan is legendary. And the fact that Khan is Bachchan's daughter-in-law's ex-boyfriend will bump up the curiosity quotient.
Weakness: The film has taken so long to release that the end product may not look very fresh.
Budget: About Rs400m.
Expected outcome: The film's star cast will no doubt ensure a substantial box-office opening.
Star cast: Abhishek Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra
Story line: A super hero sci-fi flick that revisits the eternal fight between good and evil. The film will hit our screens on June 27.
Strengths: Bachchan junior will play a superhero in this special effects driven film.
Weakness: The special effects may not be up to Hollywood standards, which audiences are now accustomed to. And the film is releasing on the same day as Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic.
Budget: About Rs400m.
Expected outcome: Drona will be one of the biggest films of 2008.
Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic
Star cast: Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukherji
Story line: Reportedly inspired by a Disney fairy tale, the story sees an angel appearing in the lives of a young man and the troublesome children he has inherited.
Strengths: Khan and Mukherji worked well together in Hum Tum.
Weakness: Its sugarcoated story line may seem similar to the other Khan and Mukherji dud Ta Ra Rum Pum. Also, if the release date of this movie clashes with Drona's, it will certainly eat into the film's box office collections.
Budget: About Rs300m.
Expected outcome: The film's subject and star cast will ensure a better opening in the overseas market.
Love Story 2050
Star cast: Priyanka Chopra, Harman Baweja and Boman Irani
Story line: Releasing on July 4, this sci-fi film can be best described as a cross between Back To The Future and I, Robot, and deals with time travel.
Strengths: A novel subject with emphasis on special effects.
Weakness: It may be a case of biting off more than you can chew for director Harry Baweja, who is best known for Bollywood potboilers.
Expected outcome: The curiosity value should alone guarantee good initials at the box office and if it is well-made then a definite money-spinner.
Singh is Kinng
Star cast: Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif
Story line: A romantic comedy about a Sikh man running a gang overseas. Scheduled release date is August 8.
Strengths: Kumar's screen presence and his box office track record.
Weakness: Kaif cannot act, so the onus falls on Kumar. Can he pull off a Namastey London?
Budget: Approximately Rs350m.
Expected outcome: The film is expected to be a sure-shot winner at the box office thanks to Kumar's current box office clout and the commercial track records of producer Vipul Shah (Namastey London fame) with director Anees Bazmee's (Welcome fame).
Bachna Ae Haseeno
Star cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Bipasha Basu, Deepika Padukone and Minissa Lamba
Story line: Releasing on August 15, this Yash Raj Film sees one eligible young bachelor juggling three beautiful women in his life.
Strengths: Ranbir and Padukone's onscreen chemistry.
Weakness: Ranbir is yet to consolidate his box-office status after the debacle that was Saawariya.
Budget: About Rs250m.
Expected outcome: The film will have a good opening in the big cities and overseas, where it should connect with the youngsters.
Chandni Chowk to China
Star cast: Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone
Story line: Tentatively scheduled for a September release, this madcap comedy sees Kumar return to what he does best: performing death-defying stunts.
Strengths: Even after Tashan's disastrous box office performance, Kumar is still the most bankable star in Indian cinema today. Plus, Warner Bros' are entering the Bollywood production game through this film, so expect plenty of slick Hollywood style stunts.
Weakness: Even with a powerful star cast, including Salman Khan and Priyanka Chopra, director Nikhil Advani's Salaam-E-Ishq bombed at the box office last year. Can he strike gold this time?
Budget: About Rs500m
Expected outcome: Masses will love it. (With inputs from Bindu Rai)