As a hardcore cinema bhakt, I have witnessed a number of films since I could remember. I have rarely gone for repeat viewings even if the film had won my heart. But certain films compel you to watch them again, and again, and again.
I remember watching Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s ABHIMAAN in three consecutive shows [3 p.m., 6 p.m., 9 p.m.] at Padma theatre, Ernakulam [Kerala], when I was a kid. I recall watching Ramesh Sippy’s SHOLAY time and again over the years. MUGHAL-E-AZAM and MOTHER INDIA continue to be all-time favorites. And so is the Julie Andrews starrer THE SOUND OF MUSIC, which remains my most favorite film.
I truly enjoyed Mani Ratnam’s new outing GURU. And it gladdened my heart immensely. In fact, I watched it twice within three days of its release and I don’t mind watching it the third time. This film inspires you to move ahead in life and that’s what works.
Let’s get one thing straight: GURU was never expected to start like DHOOM 2, KRRISH or FANAA. In fact, everyone in the industry knew that the initial shows wouldn’t record more than 35%-40% occupancy. But its 50%-60% start did comes a pleasant surprise. And the film picked up momentum on Day 1 itself .
While everyone was expecting the film to perform exceedingly well at multiplexes of metros mainly, the day-wise growth in collections, even at centres where ‘multiplex films’ rarely find many takers, has proved that a good film finds its audience, irrespective of its genre.
At Indore, for instance, GURU showed a meteoric rise as days progressed. But it slided downwards on Monday and remained at par on Tuesday and Wednesday, which is not a disturbing sign. Let’s have a quick look at its day-wise performance –
At Mumbai and Delhi/Uttar Pradesh too, the film is behaving exceedingly well. Going by the initial trends, the film fetched excellent collections in the opening weekend and is steady on weekdays. South and Bengal is also strong.
Agreed, the film is not strong at single screens, but wasn’t that expected? It’s not a DHOOM 2 or a PHIR HERA PHERI to attract the hoi polloi in hordes, so let’s not sit with a magnifying glass and indulge in loose talk. In fact, a number of print and TV journos quizzed me whether the Abhishek-Ash ‘roka’ ceremony was a ploy to boost the business of GURU. Rubbish! The Bachchans would never stoop so low ever. If they wanted, they could’ve announced it during UMRAO JAAN, which really required the push. Let’s stay away from yellow journalism!
As things stand today, the distributors of a few territories of GURU are definitely in comfort zone thanks to its business at multiplexes. With no major opposition in the coming week, its business at multiplexes should be steady.
After I SEE YOU and KUDIYON KA HAI ZAMAANA, ANWAR is the third film in a row to be greeted with almost empty cinema halls. The film lacks in merits and its poor fate at the ticket window doesn’t shock you one bit. The third release, FRIENDSHIP, also went unnoticed.
THIS WEEK IN 2006
[Weekend: January 13-15, 2006]
Most industrymen are often under the impression that big stars guarantee big bucks at the box-office. A few producers also feel that the stars decide the fate of a film. For all those who think this way, the opening of FAMILY – TIES OF BLOOD and ZINDA proved to be an eye-opener.
Amitabh Bachchan. Sanjay Dutt. Akshay Kumar. John Abraham. Lara Dutta. Celina Jaitley. Bhumika Chawla. Rajkumar Santoshi. Sanjay Gupta. If you calculate the money riding on the two films these impressive names were part of, it would be anywhere between Rs. 35 and Rs. 40 crores. But the sorry initial of the two films, despite holidays, came as a jolt.
Let’s talk about FAMILY – TIES OF BLOOD first. In today’s times, when Hindi cinema is evolving rapidly and new stories are being churned out with amazing regularity, a film like FAMILY – TIES OF BLOOD is one big yawn. Without doubt, it’s the weakest film in Santoshi’s repertoire!
ZINDA, on the other hand, charters a new path as far as its story is concerned. Also, it ranks amongst Sanjay Gupta’s finest efforts. Having said that, I’d like to add that it’s good to be innovative and ground-breaking, but you should experiment within certain parameters, keeping the Indian audiences in mind. That’s where ZINDA faltered.
The problem with ZINDA was, it catered to a niche audience. It’s not for the ladies/families, not for the fairer sex at all. There’s no denying that Gupta had worked hard on the film, but given the dry and dark theme of the film, besides a number of gruesome scenes, ZINDA was sure to feel the heat. And it did!
THIS WEEK IN 2005
[Weekend: January 14-16, 2005]
Two action flicks came face to face this week: INSAN and ELAAN. Under normal circumstances, a two-hero film, starring sought-after names, would generally fetch a 90% + start in the domestic market. Despite the presence of two dependable actors, Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgan, besides well-known names such as Esha Deol, Lara Dutta and Tusshar, INSAN couldn’t generate even a 50% opening on Day 1 at several places.
Around four/five weeks ago, when the promos of INSAN first went on air, the impact generated was zilch. On the contrary, the promos gave an impression that one of Akshay-Ajay's old films was being revived with a new title.
If the promos of INSAN sent out wrong signals, the promos of ELAAN generated tremendous hype and hoopla for this vendetta flick. ELAAN was expected to take a great start at the box-office, but nothing of the sort happened. ELAAN opened to a below-the-mark response at several halls. Vikram Bhatt had missed the bus yet again!
THIS WEEK IN 2004
[Weekend: January 9-11, 2004]
PLAN, CHAMELI and PAISA VASOOL couldn’t set the cash registers jingling. Although PLAN had a better start at some stations of Uttar Pradesh and CHAMELI opened to a better response at multiplexes, the overall business of the three new releases remained on the lower side.
One of the reasons for the not-too-happening b.o. status of PLAN could easily be attributed to the fact that there was an overdose of Sanjay Dutt starrers in the market [MUNNABHAI M.B.B.S., L.O.C., PLAN]. And anything in excess can prove harmful. On the other hand, CHAMELI had a better start at multiplexes of Mumbai and Delhi, but its opening at some stations of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab was on the lower side.
As for PAISA VASOOL, the opening was so low [the film qualifies a place in the list of ‘Top 5 lowest openings of last three years’!] that its investors must be turning red looking at the DCRs [Daily Collection Reports].