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Bollywood Business Talk

Aftermath of the 'Rustom' versus 'Mohenjo Daro' clash!

By Taran Adarsh, August 16, 2016 - 07:03 IST


I was travelling the entire last week [a delegation of esteemed film producers from Mumbai and this writer were invited by the Government of Georgia to visit their beautiful country], but, believe me, I was discussing the mighty clash [RUSTOM versus MOHENJO DARO] every single day. The phone calls from prominent film-makers and distributor/exhibitor-friends kept reminding me of the ensuing clash. The topics ranged from the advance booking at theatres, the pre-release buzz, the business predictions, the divided screen count and the buzz on social media.

When two biggies stake claim on the same date, it leads to major discussions amongst members of the film fraternity and heated discussions on social media. I've realized, clashes can get unpleasant and distasteful, on social media at least. All of a sudden, the timeline is filled with negativity and viciousness, as most fans/fan clubs badmouth the opponent and brandish failures/debacles of the opponent actor/film-maker. DILWALE and BAJIRAO MASTANI were the topic of discussion last Christmas. More recently, the SULTAN versus RAEES clash created a furore... Of course, the makers of RAEES decided to shift the film to a later date and the discussions ended pronto.

RUSTOM and MOHENJO DARO had been in news ever since the release dates were announced, although a section of the industry was hopeful that one of them would shift to a later date. However, the producers/Studios of the respective films did not budge from the date they had locked for their films. The clash, therefore, was foreseeable. After all, who'd want to miss out on a 4-day weekend [Independence Day holiday on Monday]?

Riding on back to back hits [AIRLIFT, HOUSEFULL-3], Akshay Kumar is going through an all-time high in his career. He already has two major hits in 2016, besides some interesting projects in the pipeline to further consolidate his career. On the other hand, master storyteller Ashutosh Gowariker had joined hands with Hrithik Roshan yet again, after the successful JODHAA AKBAR. Naturally, the two films had their share of USPs.

A lot of people I know were extremely confident that RUSTOM would steal the show. It had an edge over MOHENJO DARO. The trailers had done the trick. And they were proven right when RUSTOM managed a great start at the ticket windows, taking a strong lead from Day 1 itself. MOHENJO DARO, unfortunately, remained the second choice, but what came as a shock was the fact that the film failed to get a double digit start on Day 1 and also Day 2. Moreover, the word of mouth tilted heavily in favour of RUSTOM, while the response to MOHENJO DARO ranged from decent to negative. Additionally, RUSTOM enjoys a major advantage -- the controlled costing, while MOHENJO DARO carries the tag of an expensive film.

RUSTOM scored on all four days of the extended weekend. It's a smash hit for sure and looking at the trends, the film is expected to score on weekdays too, thus reaping a rich harvest for its investors. MOHENJO DARO did witness growth over the extended 4-day weekend, but the numbers are not in sync with the costs and efforts invested in the film. In terms of numbers, it's a disappointment. One definitely expected more.

So what does it mean for Akshay and Hrithik? Looking at the trends, RUSTOM is expected to cross Rs 100 cr nett in the domestic market and will be a hat trick for Akshay in 2016. All three films -- AIRLIFT, HOUSEFULL-3 and RUSTOM -- in Rs 100 cr Club… that's an enviable position to be in. The disappointing response to MOHENJO DARO is a setback for Hrithik, although there's no denying that his star power is intact. All he needs is one big hit!

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