If January had RANG DE BASANTI [super hit] and February AKSAR [above average to average] and TAXI NO. 9211 [above average], the third month of 2006 had to be content with just one success, MALAMAAL WEEKLY [hit]. A number of films that hit the marquee in March, TEESRI AANKH - THE HIDDEN CAMERA, JIGYAASA, MR. 100% - THE REAL PLAYER, UMAR and BANANA BROTHERS, sank without a trace, reaffirming that film business is generally low-key in March.
In reality, you can't blame the school/college examinations or cricket matches [India-U.K.] entirely for the decline in film business. Reason being, you can't expect a weakling [film] to stand on its feet for more than two/three days nowadays [a successful one-week run is also a rarity]. Believe it or not, in several cases, the theatres were forced to cancel shows due to lack of audience.
The last two releases in March, SOUTEN - THE OTHER WOMAN and BEING CYRUS [English], were no turning points either. The release of SOUTEN - THE OTHER WOMAN was erratic at places; a few shows on Friday were cancelled due to late arrival of prints. Even otherwise, the hype was clearly missing, hence the film had to be content with a 15% to 20% opening.
SOUTEN - THE OTHER WOMAN also gave an impression that it was a sleazy fare, which it isn't. On the contrary, it tackled a bold issue [by Indian standards at least] of a man torn between two women; in this case it's the mother and daughter fighting for the same man. Unfortunately, the concept failed to attract the multiplex crowd, while the skin show [in minimal doses] didn't catch the fancy of the aam junta. Either way, it was a loser!
BEING CYRUS had a limited release [it was released at select theatres of few cities] and the response was best in Mumbai. The market of English films, made by Indians, hasn't bloomed completely. Also, BEING CYRUS isn't the usual English film. It caters to a different section of moviegoers: intelligentsia, thinking audience, elite. Obviously, there are bound to be limitations from the business point of view.
The presence of Saif Ali Khan didn't make much of a difference to its business. Although Saif is riding high currently, BEING CYRUS falls into a different bracket completely and its success/failure wouldn't affect the star's solid status. While BEING CYRUS registered decent collections during its opening weekend at select movieplexes, it went downhill from Monday onwards. Let's see if the film holds in its second weekend, in the absence of any worthwhile release this week.
THIS WEEK, LAST YEAR
[Weekend: March 25-27, 2005]
While the first three weeks of March weren't fruitful, with SOCHA NA THA, CHAND SA ROSHAN CHEHRA [March 4], KARAM [March 11] and CLASSIC - DANCE OF LOVE [March 18] failing to lure cinegoers in hordes, the business did show an upward trend in the fourth week with the release of TANGO CHARLIE, ZEHER and MY BROTHER NIKHIL [March 25].
Actually, the business takes a sharp dip in the third month, but this year was worse. A sizeable chunk of moviegoers stayed away from cinema halls due to the Indo-Pak cricket matches, which, one has to concede, also made a dent in the business.
The graph did show an upward trend with the release of TANGO CHARLIE and ZEHER and while the opening weekend of the two films was better as compared to the business in the last three weeks, the collections came sliding down from Monday onwards.
The problem with TANGO CHARLIE is that it comes at a time when the audiences have had enough of war films or films that depict a soldier's fight to uproot terrorism. The second dilemma that TANGO CHARLIE faces is its offbeat title. A title like TANGO CHARLIE doesn't give an impression of being a film based on Border Security Forces. And titles such as these have their limitations in the predominantly Hindi belt.
On the other hand, ZEHER may sail to safety thanks to its above average opening and moderate pricing. The Bhatts sell their films at reasonable prices and ZEHER was no exception. But had this remake of OUT OF TIME released without a major opposition, its prospects would've been much better.
The third release, MY BROTHER NIKHIL, had a limited release. Targeted at the multiplex audiences of metros, the film had a dull start [expectedly], but a strong word of mouth, besides the glowing reviews in the media, may help it climb the ladder of popularity in days to come.