Two decades ago, when Mukul S. Anand announced KHUDA GAWAH with a lavish mahurat ceremony at Gaiety cinema, Bandra, it was the hottest project in the marquee then. Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Sridevi, Danny Denzongaâ€¦ it couldn't get bigger than that. The curiosity to watch Amitabh Bachchan and Sanjay Dutt together on screen attracted multiple distributors from each circuit. Sanju opted out of the film, after shooting a few scenes. Subsequently, Nagarjuna stepped into Sanju's shoes.
Over the years, Bachchan and Dutt have featured in various films [HUM KISISE KUM NAHIN, KAANTE, DEEWAAR, VIRUDDH, EKLAVYA, SHOOTOUT AT LOKHANDWALA, ALADINâ€¦ did I miss out on any film?]. And now DEPARTMENT. The once piping hot combo, unfortunately, has tapered over the years and the dismal opening weekend of their new film bears testimony to the fact.
One of the reasons for the tepid response could be attributed to the fact that the audience has had enough of similar genre films. Besides, the personnel associated with plexes and single screens echo similar sentiments: Dark and grim subjects are an absolute no-no in today's times. In fact, they vociferously mention the example of JANNAT 2, which lost out on a couple of crores due to the foul language in the film.
DEPARTMENT was never expected to start with gusto, but no one expected the film to fetch such miserable numbers either. The shockingly poor start must've shaken even those associated with this film. Surprisingly, films like VICKY DONOR and ISHAQZAADE, which star new names, grossed better figures than DEPARTMENT in their opening weekend. That says it all!
The second release, MR. BHATTI ON CHUTTI, had no buzz prior to its release and the disastrous response didn't come as a surprise either.