It's lull after a storm [HEYY BABYY]. RAMGOPAL VARMA KI AAG was touted as the next big thing, that it would set the box-office afire, that it would set new records keeping in mind the tremendous hype it had generated prior to its release. But the flame didn't grow into an infernoâ€¦
The film was talked-about prior to its release for various reasons. It was talked about after its release as well and all conversations were limited to its dismal opening. The [pathetic] start was just not in sync with the stature of the film. In fact, RAMGOPAL VARMA KI AAG would easily rank amongst the lowest openers of the year.
What went wrong? One of the reasons, in my individualistic opinion, is the look of the film vis-Ã -vis its promotion. The promos were too dark and worse, the promotional material [billboards, posters] gave an impression of a B-grade film. In fact, it looked as if one of those old films of 1970s and 1980s were being revived. RGV should've concentrated on giving an upmarket look for the film as far as the promotion was concerned.
A section of the industry feels that remaking a timeless epic like SHOLAY is akin to playing with fire and RGV made a grave mistake by tampering with the classic. I don't subscribe to this theory. Every film-maker has the right to choose subjects that excites him/her. Sanjay Leela Bhansali wanted to interpret DEVDAS his way and Farhan Akhtar narrated DON his way. â€œI became a director because of SHOLAY. The film inspired me tremendously,â€ RGV spoke on my show. Where he faltered was the interpretation of the material, which in turn attracted severe criticism from the junta and media.
Ideally, a film of this magnitude should've embarked on an 80% + start, but the 15% - 20% opening had people actually rubbing their eyes in disbelief. The film slipped on Saturday, while Sunday was at par with Friday at several centres. Monday onwards, let's not talk!
From the business point of view, the distributors who bought the film for fancy prices, will lose more than half of their investment owing to poor collections. This one's not a flop, it's a disaster!
Believe me when I say this, people weren't even interested in discussing the other two releases, VICTORIA NO. 203 and DHOKHA. VICTORIA NO. 203, a remake again, looked like a half-baked attempt. If you've watched the original, you'd agree that it was a wholesome entertainer from start to end. The new VICTORIA NO. 203 was a boring ride!
A prominent distributor was of the opinion that had VICTORIA NO. 203 not clashed with RAMGOPAL VARMA KI AAG, the prospects would've been much better. I disagree! Even if VICTORIA NO. 203 had released during Diwali, Idd or Christmas vacations, its fate would've been no different!
I feel sad for DHOKHA. It's a well-made film [and director Pooja Bhatt's finest work so far], but not many stepped into the cineplexes to catch this film. The opening was dismal, even at multiplexes of big centres. It's the second time in a row that producer Mukesh Bhatt's film got sidelined for whatever reasons, despite strong merits.
THIS WEEK IN 2006
[Weekend: September 1-3, 2006]
Contrary to the pre-release expectations, LAGE RAHO MUNNABHAI didn't open to a glorious or an earth-shattering response. In fact, the opening wasn't commensurate with the merits and tremendous appreciation for the film. The opening was 70% at places [it was best in Mumbai/Maharashtra], but in circuits like Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh, it was approx. 50% +.
Expectedly, the multiplexes had a slow start on Friday [30%]. That's because the settlement between Vidhu Vinod Chopra and the multiplexes happened only on Friday morning [1.30 a.m.] and the distributors didn't get ample time to publicize the fact in the morning newspapers.
But the tide started changing on Friday itself. The all-round appreciation and a strong word of mouth spread like wild fire and the evening shows started filling up, even at multiplexes. In fact, at several multiplexes, the occupancy was in the range of 95% +, which is fabulous considering the number of shows most multiplexes are conducting these days [14/16 in this case].
The film had struck a chord with the elite, the yuppie crowd, aam junta, hoi polloi... all sections of moviegoers. Businesswise, LAGE RAHO MUNNABHAI proved a blockbuster in days to come. The escapades of Munna and Circuit were given a jadoo ki jhappi by moviegoers throughout the country, thereby strengthening its position at the box-office.
THIS WEEK IN 2005
[Weekend: September 2-4, 2005]
Why are most producers in a tearing hurry to release their films? Agreed, they have their reasons. But how does the common man cope with four films in a single week? He may be an avid film buff, he may be the first-day-first-show type, he may be craving to watch his fav stars on screen, but how does he take time out from his busy schedule to watch two, three or four films in a week?
This Friday witnessed the release of four films -- PYAAR MEIN TWIST, AASHIQ BANAYA AAPNE, RAMJI LONDONWALE and DANSH. Obviously, the opening day business was divided. While AASHIQ BANAYA AAPNE garnered the best opening [40%-50% +], RAMJI LONDONWALE and PYAAR MEIN TWIST had to be content with a 25% + initial. As for DANSH, the opening numbers were shockingly low.
The business on Saturdays and Sundays shows an upswing during most weekends and the business of RAMJI LONDONWALE and PYAAR MEIN TWIST was upbeat on these two days. AASHIQ BANAYA AAPNE also remained afloat till Sunday, but the business of all films came sliding downwards from Monday onwards.
THIS WEEK IN 2004
[Weekend: August 27-29, 2004]
Two eerie flicks starring topnotch names hit the marquee. And both -- RAKHT and HUM KAUN HAI? -- proved a nightmare for their distributors. While RAKHT at least managed a 40% to 60% opening at places, the response to HUM KAUN HAI? sent shock waves throughout the film industry. Its opening ranged from 7% to 10% at several screens.
The promotion of RAKHT was quite low-key, while HUM KAUN HAI? came literally unannounced. The producers started promoting the product [HUM KAUN HAI?] barely 6-7 days before it was to hit the screens. Naturally, even die-hard Bachchan fans weren't aware of this flick.