On Sunday night, I visited the food court of a sprawling mall located close to my home. This mall also houses one of the swankiest multiplexes of Mumbai. I noticed queues outside every food outlet/restaurant at the food court, but the 'Boxoffice' counter at the ground level sported an empty look. You could actually count the number of people standing there.
Could it be recession? An eatery/bistro/cafÃ© and movies will never get hit by recession, I was told by several people. So how does one explain people spending thousands in the food court and not hundreds for a ticket at the adjoining cineplex?
The general feeling is that the common man has become very, very choosy when it comes to spending his hard-earned money on a movie ticket. Only if the face-value is exciting, the promo is attractive and the post-release buzz is positive will he enter a cineplex. Recession has only made him choosy of the number of movies he wants to watch in a month.
Okay, now let's talk of the two new releases. GULAAL first. DEV D had embarked on a strong start at some plexes of big centres and one was hoping that GULAAL would have a repeat performance, at least at some plexes. But the slow start did catch people by surprise, even though its producers [Zee Limelight] went out of its way to publicize the film. The start at plexes was approx. 25% - 30%, but the single screens and also the mass belt was a scary 10%.
Usually business picks up on Saturdays and Sundays, but GULAAL performed more or less the same on these two days. What kept the audiences away from GULAAL? DEV D got ample patronage from youth, but the youth didn't make a beeline for GULAAL, even though the film talks of youth. Also, the families [this section contributes enormously to the weekend business] stayed away from GULAAL because of an overdose of expletives in the film.
Monday onwards, GULAAL has crashed and nosedived even at plexes, which means that the film hasn't fared the way its makers were expecting it to fare. One only hopes that the learned Mr. Anurag Kashyap takes its failure in his stride, instead of being a bad loser and starting an abusive campaign against all and sundry, all over again.
On the other hand, JAI VEERU had a good start at single screens of North on Holi [Wednesday], but when it opened at multiplexes and also in Mumbai, Delhi and other major centres on Friday, the results were disastrous. The outcome didn't come as a surprise, frankly. No prizes for guessing its fate on the weekdays!