With several inconsequential films hitting the marquee last week and none of the earlier releases having the capacity to sustain, the slack phase continues its uninterrupted sprint at the box-office.
And with the holy month of Ramadan having begun, a sizeable section of moviegoers are likely to stay away from cinema halls. You can just imagine the occupancy level at most cinema halls these days!
The three new releases - DIL BECHARA PYAAR KA MAARA, BHOLA IN BOLLYWOOD and HATYA THE MURDER [a much-delayed film starring Akshay Kumar and Varsha Usgaonker] - didn't do much to uplift the sagging morale of the film industry. Not much was expected anyways!
At the rate films are flopping, it's the case of film industry bechari hit ki maari, a known distributor wisecracked last week. I endorse this viewpoint completely. The business is down in the dumps… like never before.
The management of some cinema halls has had to cancel shows because of lack of moviegoers. Why, Naaz [the hub of distributors and exhibitors in Mumbai] was agog with the news that an exhibitor was forced to cancel the screening of a new release on Day 1 itself because only one ticket had been sold. Can you believe this?
In fact, you'll find more people in preview shows [held at a 45-seater mini theatre] than at most cinema halls these days, that's another joke doing the rounds.
Despite Ramadan, the industry witnesses two medium-budget releases this Friday - VAASTU SHASTRA and KIS KIS KI KISMAT. The two movies are as diverse as cheese and chalk, with VAASTU SHASTRA being a scary flick, while KIS KIS KI KISMAT meant to be a rib-tickling entertainer, with erotica aplenty, thanks to Ms. Sherawat's presence in the enterprise.
Will the situation improve this weekend? Will the business show an upswing? It should, in my opinion, though it all depends on how well moviegoers respond to the two new flicks.
Nonetheless, everyone is eyeing the new releases in the Diwali week as well as those in the subsequent weeks to bail the film industry out of the crisis. The next two months are very crucial and as things stand today, more than Rs. 350 crores [yes, you've read that right!] is at stake in these two months alone.
Let's pray that the industry is back on its feet… or, let's say, it gets out of the ICU.