Enough of the Khan versus Khan clash this week. Newspapers, tabloids, television channels, internet sites… it's the same topic everywhere: Will SRK outsmart Salman? Or will Salman outdo SRK? Which of the two films, DON and JAAN-E-MANN, will reach the winning post first? Will thriller crush romance? Or will romance trounce thriller?
Why do we pit two actors or two films all the while? Is it some kind of a battle? A war, where one has to win and the other, lose? Why can't two films co-exist? The best thing about this so-called 'clash of the titans' is that both belong to different genres. There's a thriller on one hand and romance on the other. Isn't that great?
I can understand the excitement for the Diwali releases. With approx. Rs. 85 crores riding on these two films, the industry is going to monitor their outcome with a magnifying glass. But haven't two or more films worked during the festive week? So why can't two films co-exist now? We don't need to pull one down to make the other a hero. Definitely not!
DIWALI: LUCRATIVE INDEED
Has Diwali always proved to be a lucky period? Well, most of the times! That explains why a majority of producers don't think twice before scheduling their films in Diwali. Let's go down memory lane and find out the audience reception to the Diwali releases…
- 2005: GARAM MASALA [hit], KYON KI… [flop], SHAADI NO. 1 [flop].
- 2004: VEER-ZAARA [hit], AITRAAZ [hit], NAACH [flop], MUGHAL-E-AZAM [hit].
- 2003: PINJAR [flop], SSSSHHH… [flop], INTEHA [flop], RAJA BHAIYA [flop].
- 2002: JEENA SIRF MERRE LIYE [flop], WAAH…! TERA KYA KEHNA [flop], ANNARTH [flop], LEELA [flop].
- 2001: TERA MERA SAATH RAHEN [flop], DEEWAANAPAN [flop], YEH ZINDAGI KA SAFAR [flop], ABHAY [flop].
- 2000: MOHABBATEIN [hit], MISSION KASHMIR [above average].
- 1999: HUM SAATH-SAATH HAIN [hit], SHOOL [flop], MAA KASAM [flop], ROCKFORD [average].
- 1998: KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI [hit], BADE MIYAN CHOTE MIYAN [hit].
- 1997: DIL TO PAGAL HAI [hit], GHULAM-E-MUSTHAFA [average], BHAI [above average].
- 1996: GHATAK [hit], SAPOOT [average].
- 1995: D.D.L.J. [hit], YARAANA [flop], GANGSTER [flop].
Sequels and remakes are 'in'. Every second producer is either planning a remake of a yesteryear hit or attempting a sequel. The super-success of KRRISH, PHIR HERA PHERI and LAGE RAHO MUNNABHAI has infused new hope in the production sector and several producers feel that the way to a moviegoer's heart is via sequels or remakes.
But let's not get over-enthusiastic…
Year ago, soon after MAINE PYAR KIYA hit the bull's eye, as many as 20 + love stories were launched in the following month. Similarly, after HUM AAPKE HAIN KOUN, it became mandatory to include dada-dadi, nana-nani, chacha-chachi, bhaiya-bhabhi, didi-jeejaji in films. Following a trend is not new. But there's a saturation point for everything… for remakes and sequels too!
BOX-OFFICE OR HOAX-OFFICE?
I find this extremely amusing. And I am sure a lot of people within the industry do so. Week after week, a section of the media throws figures such as Rs. 25 crores first week business, Rs. 50 crores in four weeks and Rs. 75 crores in six weeks. My only question to these geniuses / whizkids / maharathis / box-office gurus / trade pandits / know-alls is, can we have a breakdown of those Rs. 25 crores, Rs. 50 crores and Rs. 75 crores?
Chalo, let's accept that these figures are accurate, precise, perfect, faultless, flawless. But can we please, please, please, please have a breakdown of those 25, 50, 75, 100, 125, 150 crores, theatre-wise, city-wise or circuit-wise? Please oblige us. You'd really be doing a big favor to the film industry by giving a breakdown.
If we're talking of facts and figures, why not support it with proof? Everyone knows that several traders don't even disclose the actual box-office receipts and many producers have knocked on the doors of their associations to get the business statements. So if the copyright holders don't have an access to the actual business, how do these upstarts come up with figures? Come to think of it, do these 'whizkids' even know how many circuits exist in India in the first place? Or is it just a strategy to pull the wool over the reader's eyes?
Let's not bluff, let's get real!
I can understand if you're a rank newcomer and not well versed with the functioning of the film industry. But why did established singer Kumar Sanu release his maiden production UTTHAAN half-heartedly? The film was released with minimal publicity at a handful of single screens and expectedly, went completely unnoticed. Why Sanu-da, why?
THIS WEEK IN 2005
[Weekend: October 14-16, 2005]
Much was expected from Ekta Kapoor's KOI AAP SA, partly because it happened to be the next release after the immensely successful KYAA KOOL HAI HUM. But the dismal opening response to KOI AAP SA proved yet again that no one knows what's playing in the viewer's mind. No one knows what he'd watch or skip.
KOI AAP SA was released on Wednesday [Dashehra], instead of Friday, at several screens, but despite the festive mood, the occupancy at movieplexes was shockingly low [10% to 15% in some shows]. KOI AAP SA was a complete non-starter and the word of mouth was so negative, it fell even before it could rise on Friday.
THIS WEEK IN 2004
[Weekend: October 15-17, 2004]
With several inconsequential films hitting the marquee and none of the earlier releases having the capacity to sustain, the slack phase continued its uninterrupted sprint at the box-office. And with the holy month of Ramadan having begun, a sizeable section of moviegoers were staying away from cinema halls.
The three new releases -- DIL BECHARA PYAAR KA MAARA, BHOLA IN BOLLYWOOD and HATYA THE MURDER [a much-delayed film starring Akshay Kumar and Varsha Usgaonker] -- didn't do much to uplift the sagging morale of the film industry. Not much was expected anyways!
At the rate films were flopping, it was more of film industry bechari hit ki maari.