The industry is already facing the heat. Year after year, film business touches rock-bottom during the pre-Diwali weeks. The common man indulges in shopping, renovates his home and buys crackers, mithai and new clothes to welcome the festive Diwali season. Entertainment, therefore, doesn't fit into his agenda during these days.
That explains why three out of four films that opened last Friday were badly thrashed at the ticket window. Barring JAB WE MET, the business of NO SMOKING and MUMBAI SALSA was so pathetic that it must've made their investors break into a cold sweat. Let's talk businessâ€¦
JAB WE MET had a 60%-70% start, with the multiplexes faring well as the day progressed. The collections in North [Delhi, Punjab] were better, while the single screens were in the range of 40% [at places, lower]. The Shahid-Kareena prem kahani won the hearts of multiplex viewers mainly. The collections were fantastic on Saturday and Sunday, while Monday and Tuesday witnessed the usual drop.
As things stand today, JAB WE MET, sold to Studio 18 for a handsome price , should recover the investment from theatrical business [plus], Overseas [excellent in U.K., Middle East], Home Video [sold to Moser Baer for a good price] and Satellite [unsold; should fetch a fantastic price thanks to the merits of the film].
NO SMOKING opened to dismal houses all over. The collections were in the range of 15%-20%; even lower at places. The audience that went to watch the film couldn't decipher what was unfolding on screen. In fact, the response to the film was pretty evident at the private screening at Fun Republic on Thursday night [a day before its release], when a lot of seats got vacant soon after the interval.
With outright negative reports on hand, its business only went downhill as days progressed. This film is a much bigger disaster than RAMGOPAL VARMA KI AAG, which is considered the baap of all disasters.
Anurag Kashyap's outburst against me and two more critics amused me no end. I feel sad for Anurag. My only retort would be to advice him to visit the distributors pronto or any cineplex screening his movie for a reality check. Wake up and smell coffee. NO SMOKING is a monumental disaster not just in India, but also in Overseas. Even RAMGOPAL VARMA KI AAG fetched better collections than NO SMOKING.
Two weeks before the release of MUMBAI SALSA, Vikram Bhatt called me to seek my opinion on whether he should release his first production venture on 26th October, along side JAB WE MET and NO SMOKING. I advised him against it. My only concern was, the two films would walk away with a better chain of theatres and better show timings. But, I presume, Vikram had his reasons.
The response was disturbing from Day 1 itself. A Mumbai-centric film, MUMBAI SALSA was expected to fare better in Mumbai, but it didn't. Nor did it work anywhere else!
BAL GANESH, the animation film, also didn't create magic that one expected from the film.