Let me start my column by reliving the past!
The reigning superstar, Amitabh Bachchan, and the ex-superstar, Rajesh Khanna, are locked in a ‘battle’ of sorts. Both Bachchan and Khanna want to outdo each other by releasing their film first.
Bachchan’s INQUILAAB and Khanna’s AAJ KA M.L.A. — belonging to the same genre — are being shot round-the-clock. INQUILAAB opens before AAJ KA M.L.A., but in the final tally, both meet with the same response from cinegoers.
Flashback: June 7, 2002.
The crucial Friday I will never forget! Two films, based on the life of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, are released simultaneously: Rajkumar Santoshi’s THE LEGEND OF BHAGAT SINGH and Sunny Deol‘s 23RD MARCH 1931 SHAHEED.
While 23RD MARCH 1931 SHAHEED garners a better response in North India, THE LEGEND OF BHAGAT SINGH, despite winning rave reviews, records poor opening everywhere. But the results are crystal clear on Day 1 itself!
Now to the current scenario… May 20, 2005.
Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt’s NAZAR and iDream’s NAINA, with similar titles and partially based on the same Cantonese-Thai language film JIAN GUI [THE EYE], hit the screens simultaneously.
The all-India box-office collections? Not something that pleases the ‘eye’!
To show interest in one subject or foreign language film is not new. There’re umpteen examples of two or more producers involved in a race to reach the winning post first. In fact, even as I pen this piece, two biggies — based on the same Hollywood film — are trying to outdo each other by shooting their films at breakneck speed, in order to hit the marquee first.
Both NAZAR and NAINA were aggressively publicized prior to their release. The Pakistan connection [Meera] in its cast, the ‘kiss’ controversy [I didn’t notice it in the film, did you?], talk of its Pakistani release… one read something about NAZAR every second day.
The producers of NAINA, on the other hand, kept aside a sizeable amount to publicize the film. Besides full page ads in newspapers, the makers spent a packet by releasing its stylish promos on all television channels.
While NAINA had a good start at multiplexes of metros, it didn’t attract enough ‘eye’balls in certain parts of the country. Yet, its overall business in multiplexes has been encouraging. NAZAR, however, had a somber start at the ticket window, with the results pretty evident before Day 1 came to a close.
However, the business of all films, all over India, took a severe beating due to the bomb explosions in two cinema halls of Delhi. With several cinema halls in North India and other parts of the country canceling the last show on Sunday, a chunk of revenue was lost in the process.
Monday onwards, the scenario was anything but upbeat. The graph of all films showed a downward trend. But let’s not panic, BUNTY AUR BABLI may well rob the hearts of cinegoers this week.