Imagine being served five varied flavored biryani as you perch on the seat for supper! What does one feast on? That's the predicament of a viewer when five Hindi films [excludes Hollywood film OCEAN'S 13, which also released simultaneously], hit the screens last Friday -- THE TRAIN, MP3, SWAMI, DHARM and RED SWASTIK.
There are two ways to look at it. With so many films opening at one go, the viewer has ample choice to choose the movie that excites him most. It's a consumer's market any way. On the flip side, the common man doesn't have the time, money or inclination to watch so many films at one go, so a few films are bound to get sidelined.
Also, with a biggie like JHOOM BARABAR JHOOM round the corner, the films preceding a biggie are, most of the times, given a royal ignore.
Last year, the popularity of one song -- 'Jhalak Dikhlaja' [from AKSAR] -- was enough to draw the audiences to theatres. But the popularity of 'Woh Ajnabee' from THE TRAIN [produced by AKSAR makers, Shyam and Narendra Bajaj] didn't find many takers. Despite terrific promotion, the film only weakened as days progressed.
MP3 had a dull start [expectedly], but the collections began to soar upwards from Saturday itself. The film showed an increase on Sunday as well, although the rise wasn't meteoric. Monday onwards, it was on the lower side again. But there's hope in its second weekend, at select multiplexes at least.
SWAMI too picked up over the weekend, but at a handful of multiplexes. DHARM had an erratic weekend. Some places nice, some places extremely poor. RED SWASTIK didn't create ripples either.
In a nutshell, barring MP3, there wasn't much to look forward to this weekend. Sad indeed!
THIS WEEK IN 2006
[Weekend: June 9-11, 2006]
Everyone knew PHIR HERA PHERI would open big. But its record start came as a pleasant surprise. The Akshay-Suniel-Paresh laughathon had embarked on a bigger and better start than the mighty FANAA at places. In fact, at several centres of Uttar Pradesh as also at Akola, Bhilai, Chandrapur, Raipur and Yavatmal, the opening day collections were bigger than the opening day figures of FANAA [as per the distributor's written statement to this writer].
On the other hand, Priyadarshan wasn't lucky this time. Ironically, his new release, CHUP CHUP KE, lost out to none other than the brand he created six years ago [HERA PHERI]. That's life -- unpredictable to the T. Another surprising aspect is that Shahid and Kareena's 36 CHINA TOWN had a potent 65%-75% start at several screens, while the opening numbers of CHUP CHUP KE, released a month later, ranged from a decent 60% to a shockingly low 30% at places. How does one explain this?
THIS WEEK IN 2005
[Weekend: June 10-12, 2005]
Everyone expected PARINEETA to embark on a flying start. But the Friday collections -- in the range of 45% to 75% -- did catch the trade watchers by surprise [the multiplexes showed a better start]. Ideally, this 2005 adaptation of an early 20th century classic should've garnered a 90% + start everywhere, irrespective of the merits of the film.
The multiplexes of Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata performed exceedingly well in the first weekend, while the business at some single screens [those frequented by hardcore masses] was not befitting a biggie. The business ranged from average to dull at places.
THIS WEEK IN 2004
[Weekend: June 4-6, 2004]
AAN took a good start at several centres, but the collections started sliding downwards from Day 2 [Saturday], which clearly indicated that a strong face-value can attract audiences on Day 1, but what counts eventually is the content. It's simple: No substance, no audience!
While the opening weekend of AAN was quite impressive in Mumbai, the drop in the b.o. collections from Monday onwards must've caught its distributors unaware. Even at key stations of Gujarat and Maharashtra, the film followed a similar pattern.