Post MALAMAAL WEEKLY [early March], a majority of films that hit the marquee went for a toss. A number of films didn’t even embark on a face-saving opening and the few that did, fell dramatically as the week progressed. In fact, a couple of films, which were pronounced successful after a good first 3 days, would also entail losses in a few circuits, as things stand today.
The Friday gone by [May 19] was no different. The three releases -- ANKAHEE, AATMA and APARICHIT [Dubbed] -- were greeted with near-empty halls. Not many were interested in watching Vikram Bhatt’s real-life prem kahani on celluloid, despite the fact that the film was constantly in news prior to its release.
Even otherwise, ANKAHEE caters to a niche audience and a thunderous start at the ticket counters was never on the minds of its makers. Unfortunately, in this case, even the decent word of mouth didn’t help. The collections did show a slight increase towards the evening shows on Saturday and Sunday [at multiplexes only], but the jump in figures, so essential for a film that starts slow, was completely missing.
The advantage with ANKHAEE is that it has been made at a modest budget. The producers may end up making profits due to the sales from the theatrical as well as non-theatrical rights [such films are well received on Home Video and Satellite], but the distributors would end up losing a part of their investment.
There was zero hype for Ramsay’s AATMA and its poor show at the ticket window shouldn’t raise eyebrows. In fact, in this fast-changing scenario, when horror films have also undergone a change, AATMA is a classic case of outdated cinema. The mindset of the moviegoers has changed, but that of some film-makers hasn’t. And that’s truly sad!
The response to the much-hyped APARICHIT was dull from its first show itself. The film, a major grosser in Tamil, was expected to fare well in the Hindi belt, at least that’s what everyone in the industry circles expected. But a number of moviegoers were aparichit with the principal cast of the film and that could be one of the reasons for the lack of interest in this otherwise visually and technically brilliant film.
THIS WEEK, LAST YEAR
[Weekend: May 20-22, 2005]
Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt’s NAZAR and iDream’s NAINA, with similar titles and partially based on the same Cantonese-Thai language film JIAN GUI [THE EYE], hit the screens simultaneously. The all-India box-office collections? Not something that pleases the ‘eye’!
Both NAZAR and NAINA were aggressively publicized prior to their release. The Pakistan connection [Meera] in its cast, the ‘kiss’ controversy, talk of its Pakistani release… one read something about NAZAR every second day.
The producers of NAINA, on the other hand, kept aside a sizeable amount to publicize the film. Besides full page ads in newspapers, the makers spent a packet by releasing its stylish promos on all television channels.
While NAINA had a good start at multiplexes of metros, it didn’t attract enough ‘eye’balls in certain parts of the country. Yet, its overall business in multiplexes has been encouraging. NAZAR, however, had a somber start at the ticket window, with the results pretty evident before Day 1 came to a close.
However, the business of all films, all over India, took a severe beating due to the bomb explosions in two cinema halls of Delhi. With several cinema halls in North India and other parts of the country canceling the last show on Sunday, a chunk of revenue was lost in the process.