A few months ago, medium-budget films incited considerable curiosity amongst cinegoers. The encouraging response to these films led most film-makers to believe that stars were dispensable and films starring newcomers [budgeted anywhere between Rs. 3 to Rs. 5 crores] could catch the fancy of the audience.
The failure of several medium-budget films in the past few weeks have made producers realise that equations and trends change every Friday. Nothing is infallible here!
Last week’s three releases – DIL PARDESI HO GAYAA, WRONG NUMBER and MUDDA – THE ISSUE – proved this statement true.
The common factor between the three releases was that each of them starred relatively new faces. D.P.H.G. was the first major release of its lead man Kapil Jhaveri, WRONG NUMBER was the third release of Rakesh Bapat [after TUM BIN and DIL VIL PYAR VYAR] and MUDDA – THE ISSUE was the second film of Arya Babbar [after AB KE BARAS], besides marking the directorial debut of actor Saurabh Shukla.
The three films had something more in common – the weaknesses outweighed the strengths. In the case of MUDDA – THE ISSUE, the promotion of the film wasn’t exciting enough. The promos were anything but slick and the pre-release campaign was dull.
Also, the film appealed in parts, the music was just about functional and the climax wasn’t impactful either.
As for WRONG NUMBER, its music was heavily promoted on satellite channels prior to its theatrical release, but a section of the audience felt that it wasn’t a film, but a music album. That’s because the film was promoted as TUMSE MILKE WRONG NUMBER by the music company, but its original title [WRONG NUMBER] was highlighted by its makers in the print media. That sent out confusing signals, with the audience wondering whether they were two different products altogether.
As for DIL PARDESI HO GAYAA, the film was aggressively promoted prior to its release, plus the tax-free status [in some circuits] was another advantage. But the paying public felt that it was one of those flicks that relied on Pak-bashing to convey the message, which wasn’t true at all.
Though D.P.H.G. was engaging in parts and the climax took several people by surprise, the pace dropped and picked up at regular intervals, thanks to a half-baked screenplay. Although the film is faring better in Uttar Pradesh and a few theatres of Mumbai, the overall scenario is far from rosy.
According to Paul Pinto, General Manager, E Square multiplex, Pune, D.P.H.G. lacked a hit musical score to compliment the film. “A romantic film starring newcomers ought to have an extra-ordinary musical score, which was missing in this case,” he states.
On the other hand, Paul attributes the poor content and low-key publicity as one of the reasons for the dull response to WRONG NUMBER, “although the film has fared better than D.P.H.G. at our multiplex.”
In Mumbai, Manoj Desai of G-7, who has released D.P.H.G. and WRONG NUMBER at his theatres, endorses Pinto’s point of view. “WRONG NUMBER lived up to its title from Day 1. The film just didn’t excite the audience and rightly so, since the content wasn’t promising. Suspense thrillers ought to have a tight narrative, which was hardly the case with the film,” he feels.
According to Desai, D.P.H.G. also offers nothing new in terms of its story, nor did it have a hit musical score, which explains why the tax-free status hardly made a difference. “There’s an audience for medium-budget films provided they are rich in substance [script],” he opines.
Haider Gola, the Mumbai distributor of MUDDA – THE ISSUE, feels that the wait for the two keenly-awaited films [L.O.C., KHAKEE] has sidelined the importance of all films releasing in the intervening period. “That’s one of the key reasons why the three releases suffered.”