The film industry has never had it so good. I mean, it brought back memories of days when every second week saw a film hitting the bull's eye. To be honest, I've yet to digest the fact that we've had so many successes in a matter of a few weeks. I keep pinching myself. Is it for real?
The mood within the film industry is upbeat thanks to the heartening response to most new films. With ISHQ VISHK, ANDAAZ and BHOOT faring well at the box-office and CHALTE CHALTE running to packed houses, the film industry is back in form.
Longing for a hit for quite some time now, one can witness the joy on the faces of producers/directors/distributors/exhibitors these days. Gone are the days when producers would keep complaining that 'television had cut into theatrical business' or 'the audience wasn't interested in coming to cinema halls anymore' or 'pirated prints [VCDs, DVDs] had hit film business hard'.
The viewers are interested in watching films, provided we give them something that holds their interest for the next three hours. The writing is clear on the wall – formula-ridden, clich?stuff won't work anymore. The content [script] will have to be different, convincing and within commercial parameters. Only then will it generate public interest.
The opening of ANDAAZ, BHOOT and CHALTE CHALTE has dispelled the myth that cinegoers have shifted priorities to the small screen [TV serials, DVDs, VCDs]. What's all the more surprising is that some cinema halls had hiked the ticket rates to Rs. 180 and Rs. 200, yet CHATE CHALTE is running to packed houses. More on that later!
What does it indicate? Does it indicate that Lady Luck is smiling again on the film industry? Or does it indicate that the viewers have, all of a sudden, woken up to the power and magic of big screen entertainment? Or does it indicate that the products that have released of late have caught the fancy of the viewers?
I would subscribe to the last theory. Big-budget films, starring the biggest of names, have been releasing week after week, but not all have met with success. The fact that ANDAAZ, BHOOT and CHALTE CHALTE have clicked indicates that the viewers did not merely go to see the stars, they went to see what these films had to offer in terms of content.
Coming to CHALTE CHALTE, the fabulous opening of the film can be attributed to two factors, one of them being the fact that a Shah Rukh Khan starrer was released after almost one year. It is very important for stars to space out their films in order to keep their popularity intact.
The second factor is the endorsement by the family audiences, mainly ladies, thanks to its emotional content. It has been proved in the past that a film that appeals to the ladies invariably succeeds at the box-office. This film is no exception.
But the main factor that goes in its favour is its moderate and sensible pricing. Reportedly, the producers have sold the film at a very nominal price and even if the collections remain average in the coming weeks, it may still prove to be a safe proposal for its investors thanks to the price factor. Like they say, it's not the film, but the price that fails. In this case, the price factor should prove advantageous.
CHALTE CHALTE is running to packed houses at cinema halls in Mumbai where the ticket rates have been hiked to Rs. 180 and Rs. 200. “We should remember that the distribution pattern of films has changed over the years. Today, it is imperative for distributors to make the best out of the initial craze,” says Balkrishna Shroff [the Mumbai distributor of the film], “I don't see anything wrong in hiking the admission rates if the audiences are prepared to pay for it. Ultimately, it is the industry that is going to benefit out of the increased revenue.” True!
Let's have a quick look at the mid-week box-office response to CHALTE CHALTE in various circuits. An IndiaFM exclusive.
MUMBAI CITY-SUBURBS, MAHARASHTA, GUJARAT: Is doing roaring business in Mumbai city-suburbs. The collections are fabulous, despite mixed reports… The collections at multiplexes in Gujarat are tremendous. At other cinema halls, there was a marginal drop on Monday, but the overall collections are extra-ordinary, after a very long time… Baroda is equally good… Ditto for Rajkot and Jamnagar, which are rock-steady… The film is faring very well in Pune and the first week collections are expected to be excellent.
DELHI, UTTAR PRADESH: Is doing record business in Delhi city-suburbs. In fact, the film may set new records in some Delhi theatres – that cannot be ruled out… In Uttar Pradesh, the film is faring well at 'A' class centres, but is not as hot at small centres. Yet, the first week billing is expected to be good.
KOLKATA CITY-SUBURBS: The film took a bumper start and the collections for the first three days have been very good. However, a slight fall in collections was noticed from Monday onwards.
C.P. BERAR, RAJASTHAN: Is excellent in Nagpur… Opened to packed houses in Jaipur. The first three days were very good, but the collections started sliding downwards subsequently.
SOUTH: The film started very well in Hyderabad. The first three days were fantastic.