Let’s face it. GUZAARISH won rave reviews from critics and audience [check out the User Reviews] and is sure to bag most awards next year, but the well-made film has failed to strike a chord at the box-office. That’s the bitter truth. An expensive film [it cost UTV approx. Rs. 60 cr. – that’s the actual figure, confirmed by UTV], GUZAARISH will make a hole in the pockets of its investors because the theatrical business is shockingly low. It’s a case of a good film missing the mark at the box-office.
What led to its rejection at the box-office? After speaking to a number of distributors/exhibitors over the weekend, I’ve come to the conclusion that the film failed on four counts…
- One, it caters to a really tiny audience, those who tilt towards cinema that dares to be different.
- Two, ask a common man what he looks for in a movie and the answer is entertainment. GUZAARISH did entertain, but not in the way the common man would expect.
- Three, the music did not catch on with listeners, like the music of HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM and DEVDAS did.
- Four, the generous usage of English in the narrative, which kept the audience away, especially in the mass belt/single screens.
Also, a section of the industry feels that it’s a risk to have the hero of the film almost entirely on a wheel chair. Besides, the film failed to create any kind of a buzz prior to its release thanks to its promos and that could be one of the reasons for the poor start at the ticket window.
Talking from the economics point of view, GUZAARISH has cost Rs. 60 cr. to UTV, of which approx. Rs. 25 cr. has been recovered from the sale of Satellite and Music rights of the film. The remaining amount – approx. Rs. 35 cr. – has to be recovered from theatrical business and looking at its business in India and Overseas, it seems like a remote possibility. The terrific word of mouth hasn’t helped at all and the decline in business on Monday and Tuesday proves it.
Years ago, Guru Dutt’s KAAGAZ KE PHOOL, Raj Kapoor’s MERA NAAM JOKER and Yash Chopra’s LAMHE failed to work at the box-office. But the same films are considered classics today. Will GUZAARISH, which ranks amongst Bhansali’s best works to date, also be remembered fondly in years to come?