Last month it was AKSAR. This month it's MALAMAAL WEEKLY. Two medium-budget films that took a pleasant start at the ticket window, taking the film trade by complete surprise. Priyadarshan's latest laughathon was definitely the weekend's top viewed movie, replacing TAXI NO. 9211 [it held the position for two consecutive weeks] at the Top 5 charts.
The expectations from MALAMAAL WEEKLY weren't high, thanks to the absence of a big league hero in the cast. Priyan's last two films, GARAM MASALA [Akshay, John] and KYON KI… [Salman], starred the hot-n-happening stars, but MALAMAAL WEEKLY relied more on characters [Paresh Rawal, Om Puri, Asrani, Rajpal Yadav] to attract footfalls at movieplexes. And the gamble paid off, with the film fetching a positive start at multiplexes [50% to 65% +], though it wasn't as strong in certain sectors.
What goes in favor of MALAMAAL WEEKLY is the fact that the paying public has been thirsting for a good entertainer since the past few weeks. Barring AKSAR and TAXI NO. 9211, a number of prominent films released from February to date [MERE JEEVAN SAATHI, HOLIDAY, FIGHT CLUB - MEMBERS ONLY, CHINGAARI, HUMKO TUMSE PYAAR HAI, TEESRI AANKH - THE HIDDEN CAMERA] lacked the stamina to stand on their feet.
Since the past few years, Priyadarshan-directed movies command a solid following and MALAMAAL WEEKLY only cements the Priyan-Paresh pairing further. Despite not-too-aggressive promotion and released during the cricket matches and examinations, the film should have a decent run at multiplexes in its second weekend as well since the biggies will arrive only in April.
There weren't expectations from the other openers, JIGYAASA and MR. 100% - THE REAL PLAYER, in view of the fact that the pre-release buzz was missing. Therefore, the flaccid opening didn't come as a surprise. While JIGYAASA made an attempt to portray the inside view of Bollywood, MR. 100% - THE REAL PLAYER portrayed the life of a gigolo and his sexual encounters. The similarity was the generous dose of skin show, but even that failed to lure their target audience.
THIS WEEK, LAST YEAR
[Weekend: March 11-13, 2005]
While watching the John Abraham - Priyanka Chopra starrer KARAM, what caught my attention was the way debutante director Sanjay F. Gupta had filmed a couple of sequences. But KARAM suffered in that one department that is the lifeline of all films -- the script. And the best of efforts go unnoticed if the screenplay is not cohesive enough.
KARAM had a lukewarm start at most places. And with the passage of days, the collections continued to dwindle. The failure of KARAM should serve as an eye-opener to all those debutantes who give more emphasis to technique than content. Let's not forget that the viewer wants to listen to a story at the end of the day!