Looks can be deceptive…
On face-value, the two new releases, YUN HOTA TOH KYA HOTA… WHAT IF? and THE KILLER, appear interesting proposals. With acclaimed actor Naseeruddin Shah in the director's seat and an ensemble star cast that holds appeal for the thinking viewer, YUN HOTA TOH KYA HOTA… WHAT IF? had everything going in its favor to attract footfalls at multiplexes -- its target audience.
On the other hand, the production house, Vishesh Films [Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt], is a brand that's synonymous with qualitative medium-budget films. The company has had a string of successes in the recent past, ZEHER, KALYUG and GANGSTER, and expecting THE KILLER to make a killing at the box-office was a foregone conclusion.
But both YUN HOTA TOH KYA HOTA… WHAT IF? and THE KILLER didn't really take the box-office by storm. The movieplexes sported an empty look and the business took a huge dip as compared to the last few weeks. In fact, after KRRISH and to an extent GOLMAAL - FUN UNLIMITED [which picked up gradually], the business has suddenly touched nadir.
A prominent article in the leading daily a few days ago only confirmed what I wrote in the 'Business Talk' column last week. The news-report -- it quoted a number of multiplex spokespersons -- stated that the multiple bombings in Mumbai and the bomb scare had resulted in film revenue going downwards, not just in Mumbai but also in other parts of the country. The upbeat mood took a complete bashing, resulting in the domestic box-office suddenly turning ice-cold.
Another reason that I feel is responsible for the downfall in revenue is that the viewer is keenly awaiting the next biggie to unfurl on screen. With the hype for Karan Johar's much-awaited biggie KABHI ALVIDA NAA KEHNA building up with each passing day, every film in its radius is bound to get eclipsed by the aura. The film is generating tremendous heat and it wouldn't be erroneous to state that any and every conversation with an actor/producer/distributor/exhibitor seems incomplete without K.A.N.K.
Back to the two new releases! YUN HOTA TOH KYA HOTA… WHAT IF? had a miserable start almost everywhere [20% +], while THE KILLER was better at places [45%-55% +], but dull at some centres. The business was steady in the first weekend as far as THE KILLER is concerned, but slipped subsequently.
While the advantage with THE KILLER is that the Bhatts have sold the film at reasonable prices, in the case of YUN HOTA TOH KYA HOTA… WHAT IF?, its producer [Shabbir Boxwala] might end up losing some money since the film has been distributed in his account.
THIS WEEK, LAST YEAR
[Weekend: July 22-24, 2005]
The success of BAGHBAN and WAQT - THE RACE AGAINST TIME reiterated the fact that the more the audiences cry, the more the distributors laugh to the bank. But VIRUDDH proved an exception.
VIRUDDH ranks amongst director Mahesh Manjrekar's finest attempts. After a series of not-too-happening films, Manjrekar was back in form this time around, handling the simple story with utmost sensitivity. I'd rate VAASTAV and ASTITVA as Manjrekar's best, though VIRUDDH comes close to them.
VIRUDDH earned excellent reviews from the media and those who thronged the movieplexes had more than an encouraging word to say about the film.
At the ticket window, VIRUDDH had a dull start almost everywhere. Its opening ranged from 40%-60% + to as low as 25% at some places. Saturday, Day 2, was better, with the collections showing an upward trend [70% +] and on Sunday, the film reached its zenith [85%-90% +]. With the rise in its box-office collections, everyone expected the film to sustain on Monday. Unfortunately, the business of VIRUDDH came sliding downwards on Monday.
One fails to understand why VIRUDDH didn't catch the fancy of moviegoers. The film has an impressive star cast, was well promoted prior to its release, it gave the impression of being a family film, yet… I don't agree with the theory that lack of a musical score was a deterrent. Had that been the case, SARKAR wouldn't have worked at the box-office.