Four releases last week [SHIVA, PYAAR KE SIDE/EFFECTS, BAS EK PAL and KACHCHI SADAK]. Four this week [ROCKY, KHOSLA KA GHOSLA, DOR and MANORANJAN - THE ENTERTAINMENT]. Let me throw a question at you: Does the common man have the time, money or inclination to watch two/three/four films in a week? Eight films in two weeks? It's professional hara-kiri.
But I wouldn't blame the producers for it. What choice do they have? Once the promotions have begun, it's difficult to hold back your film. And an 'open week' is a rarity considering the number of films being produced these days.
The four new releases -- ROCKY, KHOSLA KA GHOSLA, DOR and MANORANJAN - THE ENTERTAINMENT - faced opposition in the form of…
- With the commencement of Navratri, the evening and night shows are largely affected in several parts of the country. A sizable chunk of population heads for the dandiya venues, not movieplexes.
- Also, Monday onwards, the commencement of the holy month of Ramadan took a toll on film business. Again, a sizable chunk abstains from watching films for an entire month, so that makes a further dent in film business.
- Add to it, the school and college examinations that are currently going on. Sure, these external forces are difficult to combat.
Of the four releases, KHOSLA KA GHOSLA had the best start at places. Its opening ranged from 30% to 45% at multiplexes, but the evening shows showed a rise at several places [75% +]. Saturday was better than Friday, while Sunday was better than Saturday. Monday and Tuesday were steady too. Do I hear UTV, its distributors, jumping with joy and crooning 'Chak De Phattey'?
In fact, KHOSLA KA GHOSLA is the second multiplex film, after PYAAR KE SIDE/EFFECTS, to be accorded a jaddoo ki jhappi by the multiplex audience.
DOR had to be content with a 20% start and despite glowing reviews by almost the entire media, the collections did show an increase, albeit marginally [45% +]. The weekend was better at places, but poor at several centres. Overall, the business is not in sync with the merits of the film.
I repeat what I had penned in one my 'Biz Talk' columns a few months ago: Winning acclaim and awards are important, but the fact remains that it's the paisa that does the talking at the end of the day. Like movie moghul [late] Manmohan Desai once told me while discussing his movies, “Kewal taarif se peth nahin bharta, you need to see how rosy your balance sheet looks at the end of the day.” I endorse the views of one of the greatest masters completely.
The third new release, ROCKY, performed lower than KHOSLA KA GHOSLA and DOR. Now that's surprising since the film was extensively promoted prior to its release and a couple of Himesh Reshammiya tracks had caught the fancy of moviegoers. But the film is a supreme disaster -- in terms of content and also business. Its failure is sure to hit Zayed hard since it's a solo-hero project.
As for MANORANJAN - THE ENTERTAINMENT, it's one of the shoddiest takes on the film industry. This movie didn't make sense to me when I saw its private screening almost a week before its release. And its outcome at the ticket window doesn't come as a shock either.
THIS WEEK IN 2005
[Weekend: September 23-25, 2005]
On the surface, DIL JO BHI KAHEY… was a perfect launch for a star-kid. By joining hands with heavyweight Manmohan Shetty's Entertainment One to co-produce the film, casting Amitabh Bachchan and Revathy as Karan's on-screen parents, hiring the best of names in the business [Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Javed Akhtar, Binod Pradhan], shooting the film in Stockholm and Mauritius and inviting hand-picked journos to Mauritius to introduce his son, Romesh Sharma left no stone unturned to give his son an ideal launch.
But Romesh Sharma went wrong in his decision of choosing a script that seemed completely outdated in today's times. Also, the promotion of DIL JO BHI KAHEY… was quite low-key. The lead pair should've been all over -- on billboards, in newspapers and periodicals, on television, on radio stations and the Internet media.
DIL JO BHI KAHEY… had a shockingly dull start at the ticket window. It opened to a 20% + start at some places, while at some movieplexes, the turnout in some shows was as low as 5%-10%. No one was expecting miracles on Saturday or Sunday and the business on these two days, even at multiplexes, was below par.
Call it a coincidence, but Amitabh's seventh release in 2004, HUM KAUN HAI?, recorded lowest collections when compared to his other releases that year. DIL JO BHI KAHEY… is his seventh release in 2005 and as luck would have it, the collections of the film are the weakest when compared to his other openers in 2005.
THIS WEEK IN 2004
[Weekend: September 24-26, 2004]
As many as four films hit the marquee this weekend in India [five films, if you add CHOKHER BALI in Overseas]. And the business of the four films [TUMSA NAHIN DEKHA, MADHOSHI, DOBARA and KING OF BOLLYWOOD] only added to the woes of a crestfallen industry.
Multiple releases in one week… Will we ever learn from our mistakes? I doubt!