A macabre pattern of repeated failures has emerged in filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj’s career. While his films are praised to the skies by critics, they make no money at the box office. Bhardwaj’s last film Rangoon lost close to Rs. 35 crores for its co-producers Viacom 18, forcing the thriving company to apparently consider losing down until Sanjay Bhansali’s Padmaavat put Viacom 18 back on its feet.
You would think Vishal’s new release Pataakha with zero star – value would at least put Bhardwaj’s career back on the right track. But, Pataakha opened to collections as shockingly low as 5 percent in some centres.
A personnel from a leading multiplex chain says, “Pataakha is a total washout. We’ve replaced shows of this film with Sui Dhaaga (the other release this week) in some centres. Vishal Bhardwaj is a brilliant director. But his films are only liked by critics.”
Film critic Raja Sen, who is a diehard fan of Bhardwaj’s cinema, says, “Masterpiece cinema and box office receipts have never shared a direct correlation. Anyway, India has no credibly audited box office figures. As for Pataakha, it is clearly a low-budget film without any stars, so the absence of a big opening did not surprise anyone.”
Adds trade analyst Atul Mohan, “Pataakha was planned so as to have not such a traditional wide release. Instead, it was a limited release. Released in little over 750 screens, the film has shown a marginal upward trend over the first weekend.”
Pataakha stars two semi – newcomers Sanya Malhotra and Radhika Madan as two warring sisters in a rugged grimy rustic setting. This is another setback for Sunil Grover struggling to establish his own identity after his split with Kapil Sharma.
Pataakha is Bhardwaj’s fifth flop in a row. His earlier works 7 Khoon Maaf and Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola were resounding flops. Even the highly regarded Haider did not make any profits.