How times change! Almost a decade ago, Harry Baweja’s Ajay Devgan–Suniel Shetty starrer DILWALE had stormed the Indian box-office with a terrific start. I distinctly remember Harry and Kumar Mangat [Ajay’s business manager] visiting my residence early one morning with the fabulous first week collections of the film.
Cut to the present scenario! Ajay and Suniel’s third film together, BLACKMAIL, opened to a lukewarm response all over. The opening day figures ranged between 30% and 40% at several cinema halls across the country. In fact, BLACKMAIL is the third biggie in January [after KISNA and INSAN] to have had a dismal start, despite the presence of A-list stars.
The second release of the week, PADMASHREE LALOO PRASAD YADAV, also opened to a shockingly low response. Its opening was between 10% and 20% at several centres, the lowest for a Mahesh Manjrekar-directed film.
Nothing seems to be working these days [except PAGE 3, which is doing excellent at multiplexes]. Not thrillers [ELAAN, BLACKMAIL, VAADA], not mindless action [INSAN], not crass comedy [P.L.P.Y.], not period drama [KISNA], not sex [ROG]… Frankly, the story of January 2005 is no different from that of January 2004.
The domestic box-office continues to be most unpredictable. But what really worries me is this new trend of films barely managing to complete a one-week run these days. In the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s, a successful film enjoyed at least a meritorious run of 15 and 25 weeks.
Now compare it with the scenario today. With 30% openings, can u expect a film to run for more than a week? Today, the life of a film, on an average, is not more than two weeks. The biggest of films have failed to get an opening and I certainly won’t blame the audiences for the current state of affairs.
None of the films boasted of a captivating script in the first place. Also, it’s pretty evident that you cannot rely on stars alone to hit the jackpot. A cohesive script has always been the order of the day and the sooner our producers realize it, the better it would be for the survival of the industry.
Let’s have a quick look at how the films fared in January 2005:-
VAADA [flop], ROG [flop], YEHI HAI ZINDAGI [flop], INSAN [flop], ELAAN [flop], KISNA [flop], PAGE 3 [excellent at multiplexes], BLACKMAIL [flop], PADMASHREE LALOO PRASAD YADAV [flop].