Never underestimate your opponent. And cricket has always been a formidable rival. Every time I speak to film-makers if their movie would stand up to the fierce competition from cricket, I get the standard reply, "Didn't BIWI NO. 1 [released during World Cup cricket matches] and JANNAT [released during the first season of IPL] work?" But what we conveniently forget are the countless movies that failed to face the stiff competition from cricket.
Last week, I asked the same question to the makers of RIGHT YAAA WRONG, HIDE & SEEK and NA GHAR KE NA GHAAT KE and the replies were similar to what I've heard again and again. In fact, the release of the three films coincided with the commencement of IPL season 3. Although the first match was scheduled to take place only in the afternoon, the theatres sported a near-empty look from Friday morning itself.
What could be the reason for the tepid response to the new releases? Weren't people excited for the three films? Or was the marketing/promotion a put off? Or plain bad luck?
Let's face it, watching movies in theatres is an expensive proposition today, especially in times when the common man is often grumbling about the spiralling cost of living. I've often heard prominent distributors say that the viewer doesn't mind spending his hard-earned money on a keenly-awaited biggie, starring a top ranker, but watching 3/4/5 films Friday after Friday, with names that don't excite them, is ruled out completely. So what happens to medium or low cost movies?
Till a few years ago, a weak-in-merits film would at least complete an entire week's run at theatres, but today, if they manage to stay in theatres beyond the opening weekend, it would be nothing short of an achievement.
Talking of new releases, RIGHT YAAA WRONG, despite strong merits, has gone completely unnoticed. The positive word of mouth didn't translate into a big jump in business. But HIDE & SEEK and NA GHAR KE NA GHAAT KE were limping all through the weekend. Imagine their fate on week days now!