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Bollywood Business Talk

'Fan' - Analyzing its business!

By Taran Adarsh, April 18, 2016 - 09:08 IST

Fan

Connection bhi na kamaal ki cheez hain, bas ho gaya toh ho gaya... This dialogue wonderfully sums up Gaurav's thoughts about the superstar he hero-worships in FAN. Conversely, this line holds true for *all* movies nowadays. Either you connect with a film or you don't.

A few days ago, while talking to a prestigious international website, I made a valid observation about Shah Rukh Khan's choices of films. The actor is making a genuine effort to step out of the comfort zone [read romantic sagas, masala entertainers et al] to work in hatke films. Sure, hatke is a much-used and abused terminology in Bollywood, but SRK is making an earnest attempt to be part of films that defy the stereotype. Stepping into characters he hasn't portrayed in the past. Working with directors he hasn't worked with previously. The shelf life of an actor expands automatically in the process, since the movie-going audience is keen to watch their fav actor in characters he hasn't portrayed before.

FAN is a step in the right direction, in my opinion. The viewers have connected big time with SRK's interpretation of the fan, who transforms from being a hero-worshipper to hero-stalker. But what about the film? Has it connected with the audience? At urban centres, yes. In mass circuits, unfortunately, the numbers are not as expected.

Come to think of it, it can't get bigger than Yash Raj and SRK joining hands for a film project. However, this time around, it wasn't Yash Chopra or Aditya Chopra on the director's seat. It was Maneesh Sharma, a storyteller who has helmed some wonderful films for YRF in the past, calling the shots.

FAN, like we know by now, is not the usual masala film or the standard rom-com. Also, it's a songless film [a strong musical score has always been one of the pillars on which YRF movies stand]. There's no Madhuri, Juhi, Preity, Rani or Anushka in a YRF film this time. Moreover, it lacks romance -- an ingredient that YRF movies are synonymous with.

Now let's look at the release strategy. FAN wasn't released during Eid, Diwali or Christmas, the festival period. It arrived in the midst of the IPL matches. That's not all, the release of the film coincided with the examination period. And, most importantly, it opened a week after THE JUNGLE BOOK continues its dream run, charming and winning audience in hordes even when I pen this piece.

Come Friday and the content does the talking, while the industry [even the fans these days] speculate on how a film has opened and whether it has the stamina to collect a whopping figure on Day 1 and also in its opening weekend. FAN had to deliver impressive numbers, given the track record of YRF-SRK. FAN is also a crucial film because SRK's last release, DILWALE, did not fare as expected in the domestic market [it did very well internationally!]. You're as strong or weak as your last Friday in Bollywood.

Additionally, FAN is a significant film for SRK. His contemporaries, Aamir and Salman, have cruised past Rs 300 cr mark [India biz], an awe-inspiring achievement when you talk of BO rankings. SRK's hits haven't attained the figure yet.

I am sure, FAN was never supposed to shatter BO records from East to West and from North to South, given the 'limitations' [in film industry parlance] that I pointed out above. The film has connected with a segment of the paying public [urban centres], which is contributing enormously to the numbers. For SRK, FAN is a landmark film; it has won tremendous acclaim for the actor after a gap. Although he has portrayed the antagonist earlier, his performance in FAN doesn't seem like a shadow of his earlier attempts.

Now let's look at the economics of FAN...
Cost of production: Rs 85 cr
Print and Advertising: Rs 20 cr
Total budget of the film: Rs 105 cr
Note: Official numbers shared by YRF to this writer.

YRF has recovered a substantial amount from the pre-sale of Satellite rights, while the remaining rights [worldwide theatrical, worldwide digital - audio and video, worldwide licensing, worldwide merchandising and other rights] should ensure recovery of the investment and profits for YRF. In short, FAN should emerge a profitable venture for the investors in the final tally.

The question is, does FAN have the legs to have a meritorious run at the ticket window in weeks to come? The efforts invested in FAN from everyone associated with it have been exemplary, with SRK delivering a memorable, award-worthy act as the fan. One is eager to see how it performs at the BO, now that the opening weekend has concluded. There's no major film releasing next Friday, hence FAN has ample time to score till BAAGHI arrives in theatres on 29 April.

It's a wait and watch situation right now!

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