It's celebration time in Bollywood ! With EK RISHTAA-THE BOND OF LOVE faring exceptionally well in Delhi-U.P. and Overseas and doing steady business in Mumbai, MUJHE KUCCH KEHNA HAI proving the first universal hit of 2001 and last week's LAGAAN and GADAR-EK PREM KATHA rewriting history in various territories, it's time to celebrate for the Hindi film industry that has been plagued with controversies and failures from the onset of this year. June 15, 2001 will be a much-remembered date for a long time to come, since this Friday did not spell terror for the industry. The two period films LAGAAN and GADAR have brought back the missing smile on the faces of distributors and exhibitors. Yet, like I have maintained always, had this clash been averted, the business of both the films would've been slightly better. With two mighty films clashing in one week, the collections were expected to be divided and that's what happened in the case of these two films as well. The clash of the two films and more particularly the two stars (Aamir and Sunny) was covered extensively by the media. But what went in favour of both the films were the reviews that were extremely positive and at times, flattering, which complimented the general feedback of the cinegoers. Comparatively speaking, the opening of GADAR was better than LAGAAN in most parts of the country, mainly because the hero (Sunny Deol) and the film looked more mass appealing. In Mumbai and Overseas, like I clearly pointed out in the review, it was LAGAAN that had an edge, since Aamir Khan is more popular here. But the question on everyone's lips is, how are the two films faring? And, of course, who has emerged the winner in this race? The box-office performance clearly indicates that both the films are neck-to-neck in some circuits, while overtaking the other in a few. Before I give a breakdown of the business in each territory, let me tell you that the outcome of the two films is akin to 'sanjeevani booti' for the industry that has been on its death-bed for quite some time. The victory of the two films shatters the myth that only modern-day romantic films are lapped up by the audience. The triumph of the two films is a slap on the faces of those who felt that period films wouldnt work in the current scenario. The success of the two films is a lesson for the film industry, which believes in fixed formulas to attain success. The feat the two films have achieved is also an eye-opener for those who strongly feel that urban themes (keeping the Mumbai and Overseas market in mind) are the order of the day. But, most importantly, the success of the two films proves that films made with honesty and sincerity, with scripts being the most important factor, are bound to click. Have a look at the box-office performance of the two films, which is an IndiaFM exclusive. MUMBAI, MAHARASHTRA, GUJARAT & KARNATAKA : Both LAGAAN and GADAR opened to 100% collections in Mumbai city and to date, LAGAAN is running to packed houses in the city. The craze for the film is unparalleled in Mumbai, with the theatres registering house full collections in advance booking itself. If the collections of LAGAAN are an indicator, the film will cross the business of all Aamir starrers released so far. GADAR too opened to a fantastic response and till Tuesday, the b.o. collections were approx. 95% in the city. There has been a slight drop in the matinee shows in the suburbs. In Pune, both LAGAAN and GADAR are going neck-to-neck. LAGAAN is 100% as of this date, while GADAR is faring very well too. In Malegaon, GADAR is on a 100% track. In Gujarat, GADAR is running to packed houses (100%) in Surat, Baroda, Rajkot and Bhavnagar. In Ahmedabad, the collections are approx. 97%, which is fantastic. LAGAAN too is behaving similarly, with the film fetching 100% collections in Baroda, Surat, Rajkot and Bhavnagar. In Ahmedabad, it is doing exceptional business as well. In Karnataka too, both the films are doing remarkably well. DELHI & UTTAR PRADESH : GADAR raced ahead of LAGAAN from the very first show. The collections of GADAR were cent per cent at all centres and the business is being compared to that of TITANIC in Hollywood. Released with 62 prints, the overall business is expected to be more than some of the biggest hits of the last few years. The film opened at 16 theatres in Delhi city and in the second week, three more prints are being added due to the craze. In Uttar Pradesh, the film is rewriting history as well. LAGAAN opened to divided response in Delhi, with certain theatres registering 100% collections, while some opening to an 80% response. Even in Uttar Pradesh, the collections are good, but not extra-ordinary, mainly because of the clash with GADAR. C.P. BERAR (parts of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh) : GADAR opened to almost 100% response in Nagpur, while the opening at Akola, Raipur, Amravati and Bilaspur was phenomenal too. In several cities, as many as six shows are being performed daily to meet the public demand. LAGAAN also opened to a terrific response in Nagpur and other cities of this circuit and is maintaining amazingly well. The film is a big grosser here. C.I. (parts of Madhya Pradesh) : Both LAGAAN and GADAR opened to a not-as-expected response in Indore, but picked up gradually. However, GADAR is slightly better at theatres patronised by the masses, while LAGAAN is not too strong. Its length has come in for criticism. BENGAL & BIHAR : GADAR did not release in Kolkata due to the cinema bandh (it will open this week), but LAGAAN opened in the city to an excellent response. In Bihar, the opening of GADAR was terrific, but the response to LAGAAN is divided. Although the film opened to a good response, the reports pouring in are of a mixed nature. EAST PUNJAB (includes Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and J.K.) : The Punjab distributor has already sent the Overflow (profit) cheque to the producers of GADAR on the day of its release, which happens rarely. Released with 35 prints, GADAR will emerge the biggest hit of the year and its business is expected to cross that of H.A.H.K., D.D.L.J., K.K.H.H. and K.N.P.H.. In many cities, serpentine queues were observed outside theatres as early as 4 a.m. for the 6 a.m. shows (yes, the shows are being held that early to meet the demand!). LAGAAN opened to an average response here, mainly because of the stiff opposition from GADAR. The film is being patronised by the classes, which will restrict its business to an extent. RAJASTHAN : In Jaipur, LAGAAN collected 52.55% at Ankur, 73.14% at Golcha and 53.77% at Laxmi Mandir on its opening day, which is not up to the mark. As on Wednesday noon, the film's total collections were 7,41,966 (61%), which indicates that there has been a drop in the collections. On the other hand, GADAR set new records in Bhilwara, Chomu and Jodhpur cities on its opening day, while the Jaipur figures were 100% at Raj Mandir, 80.10% at Saroj and 91.49% at Gem on its opening day. As on Wednesday noon, the film's total collections were 12,65,066 (97%). SOUTH INDIA : Both LAGAAN and GADAR are doing fabulous business in Hyderabad, Secunderabad and Aurangabad cities. LAGAAN hasn't released in Andhra circuit, but GADAR opened to full houses at Vijayawada and almost full houses at Kurnool. To conclude, what more can one say except that one looks forward to the subsequent releases repeating history at the turnstiles!
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