Seriously, the job of a producer doesn't end at making a film. Ensuring that it gets the right set of distributors [who're equally charged about the film], promoting the film to the optimum, locking the right release date [ensuring that it doesn't clash with a biggie] and getting the right chain of multiplexes/theatres [and the show timings] are of paramount importance today.
Besides, a film has to 'combat' so many external forces, like rough weather, cricket matches, political unrest/law and order problem, school and college examinationsâ€¦ If the film survives it all and emerges victorious at the ticket window eventually, only then can the producer heave a sigh of relief.
Over the years, I've witnessed every producer being on tenterhooks prior to the release of his film. If anyone says he doesn't suffer from pre-release pangs or is least bothered about his film's fate at the ticket window, either he's a dramebaaz in real life or a complete sham.
Multiple releases in every week have become a norm. Everyone knows the implications of clashing with the other releases, yet everyone's ready to gamble it out. Last Friday was no exception, as DHAMAAL, DARLING and APNA ASMAAN hit the marquee.
DHAMAAL is a decent product, but somehow it didn't garner magical numbers on its opening day. Post PARTNER and HEYY BABYY, everyone was hopeful that the new laughathon in town would also fetch a fantastic start. But the distributors of the film I spoke to were equally perplexed at the numbers that kept flowing in. Sure, the reports are positive, but why didn't the film fetch a grand start?
Various theories are floating around. Lack of a hit musical score [DHAMAAL has only two songs] is one of them. Another reason being attributed to the lack of opening is directed at the missing glamour quotient [for the desi viewers, a 'heroine' is mandatory and DHAMAAL is an all-male film]. The quality of promos weren't as eye-catching, some felt.
Saturday was the crucial cricket match and the business did get affected, although it picked up during evening/night shows. Sunday was fabulous, with the film generating 90% + occupancy. The distributors were euphoric. Monday saw a decline and Tuesday was steady, but on the lower side. Let's check out the response to the film at Indore, one of the barometers of film businessâ€¦
The commencement of the 20/20 cricket matches as also Ganeshotsav festival will keep a section of moviegoers away from cineplexes in days to come. Also, the holy month of Ramzan is about to begin and the overall film business is expected to be low. But the distributors I connected with on Wednesday night again were hopeful that the business would pick up in the forthcoming weekend.
As things stand today, DHAMAAL should recover its costs and keep its distributors safe.
Post RAMGOPAL VARMA KI AAG, RGV's credibility has taken a severe beating and although DARLING is a well-made product and did find appreciation from the multiplex-going junta, the numbers are shockingly low. Of course, producer Bhushan Kumar and director RGV never expected the film to fetch a thunderous start, but they were hopeful that the film would pick up gradually, when I spoke to them on Friday. Sadly, it didn't!
Perhaps, the aftermath of AAG [read backlash] affected DARLING as well.
APNA ASMAAN was a non-starter from Day 1. No one expected miracles from this film, frankly!
THIS WEEK IN 2006
[Weekend: September 8-10, 2006]
Film industry mein har Shukravar kundli badalti hai [fortunes change every Friday]. Boney Kapoor's KYUN! HO GAYA NA opened to a dismal response, followed by Subhash Ghai's KISNA [disaster] and Sahara-Percept's HOME DELIVERY [washout] and Vivek Oberoi's career came crashing down. In between, Rahul Rawail's keenly-anticipated JO BOLE SO NIHAAL, starring Sunny, proved a damp squib at the box-office.
The Sunny-Vivek combo, considered a hot proposition at a point of time, turned ice-cold overnight. NAKSHA released at a time when both Sunny and Vivek were going through the worst phase in their career and that made a dent in the opening of the film. The results of NAKSHA were crystal clear on Day 1 [Friday] itself. While the single screens in North India [Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab] as well as parts of Madhya Pradesh [Indore], gave its mandate [80% +], the multiplexes everywhere were extremely poor [10%].
The second release, DIL DIYA HAI, was looked forward to by the industry for several reasons. One, the AASHIQ BANAYA AAPNE combo of producer Bala Bhai, director Aaditya Datt and actor Emraan Hashmi had joined hands again. With AASHIQ BANAYA AAPNE doing decent business, DIL DIYA HAI was expected to tread a similar path.
Two, Himesh Reshammiya's musical score, in the past, had contributed to the opening of the film. In fact, films like AASHIQ BANAYA AAPNE as well as AKSAR and TOM DICK AND HARRY had benefited enormously due to Himesh's music. But audience ne dil nahin diya. DIL DIYA HAI was a non-starter from the word 'Go'.
THIS WEEK IN 2005
[Weekend: September 9-11, 2005]
One production house that has been having a dream run at the turnstiles is Yash Raj Films. SALAAM | NAMASTE had an excellent start [85% to 90% +] at multiplexes of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Jaipur, South, but at several centres, the opening day collections ranged between 30% and 60%.
The business of SALAAM | NAMASTE was clearly divided in its opening weekend. While the multiplexes performed 8 to 10 to 12 shows every day with 95% + occupancy, the business at single screens at some centres wasn't too strong. However, the first week billing was excellent, the ordinary business at some centres notwithstanding. For Yash Raj, the strategy of releasing the film with multiple prints in multiple shows worldwide and extracting the maximum in the first week itself had paid off yet again.
THIS WEEK IN 2004
[Weekend: September 3-5, 2004]
After two successes in rapid succession, GARV [semi-hit] and MUJHSE SHAADI KAROGI [hit], Salman Khan delivered two box-office duds one after the other -- PHIR MILENGE and DIL NE JISE APNA KAHAA.
The uninterrupted run of a great show at the box-office [TERE NAAM, BAGHBAN, GARV, MUJHSE SHAADI KAROGI] had unfortunately been cut short with the failure of first PHIR MILENGE earlier and DIL NE JISE APNA KAHAA this weekend. Goes to prove [yet again] that it's not the star alone, but the project in totality that works!