Na biwi na bachcha
Na baap bada na maiya
The whole thing is that ki bhaiya
Sabse bada rupaiya…
No, I am in no mood to render the chartbusting track funster Mehmood rendered with élan way back in the 1970s in SABSE BADA RUPAIYA [the remix version of the song found a prominent place in last Friday's BLUFFMASTER!]. But I think the last two lines of the song are very relevant, not just for BLUFFMASTER!, but for every film-maker.
Winning acclaim and awards are important, but the fact remains that it's the paisa that does the talking at the end of the day. Like movie moghul [late] Manmohan Desai once told me while discussing his movies, “Kewal taarif se peth nahin bharta, you need to see how rosy your balance sheet looks at the end of the day.” I endorse the views of one of the greatest masters completely.
BLUFFMASTER! has so many aces: A-list producers [Ramesh Sippy, Manmohan Shetty], popular stars [Abhishek, Priyanka, Nana, Ritesh], terrific pre-release promotion and buzz… and most importantly an 'open week', with no Hindi film oppositions whatsoever. The past few weeks had witnessed multiple releases fighting with each other to attract eyeballs and footfalls. But Friday, December 16 was an exception.
However, the opening of this keenly anticipated film came as a complete shocker. Barring the multiplexes of metros, the opening response to the film was below the mark almost everywhere. Ideally, with everything in its favor, the film should've embarked on a mighty 90% + start, but the 20% - 40% start just didn't conform to the expectations.
One of the reasons being attributed to the dull opening was that the promos were too elitist, sending clear signals that it was a videshi film in a desi body. Besides, the heavy flow of biggies, week after week, took a toll. Let's not forget that the common man does not have the time, money or inclination to watch seven biggies in three weeks. Somewhere down the line, the business is bound to suffer with so many films hitting the marquee in rapid succession.
Also, what we may consider 'hot' and 'rocking' within the industry may not be as 'hot' and 'rocking' with the movie-going audiences. This is applicable for the actors as well as the film.
As things stand today, BLUFFMASTER! is best at metros only. However, the business is divided even at metros, with the film generating decent collections at multiplexes, but dull at single screens. Overall, mazaa nahin aaya!
THIS WEEK, LAST YEAR
[Weekend: December 17-19, 2004]
SRK's uninterrupted run came to a screeching halt with SWADES. The film opened to a dismal response at several centres. The fact that Ashutosh Gowariker was in the director's seat this time made no difference to the paying public.
What does one attribute the dull initial to? In the first place, the promos of the film were simply unexciting, very thanda. Around the same time, the promos of VEER-ZAARA, also starring SRK, were being aired and quite naturally, the promos of this film attracted more eyeballs.
Besides, the music of SWADES never caught on. Despite glowing reviews, the music sales weren't too encouraging. In fact, the music company [T-Series] was expecting the music sales to show a jump after the film's theatrical release.
The early trends of a dull start were visible when the advance booking counters opened. The management of practically every cinema hall that practices advance booking was shell-shocked when the ticket sales were alarmingly low. Even the weekend shows didn't display the 'H.F.' status as the release date drew nearer.
The opening ranged from 30%-50% at several screens; at some places it was slightly better [evening/night shows], at places lower. The film had not been liked, it looked more like a documentary, the masses -- who make or break a film -- were dissatisfied, the film lacked in entertainment value, the songs only added to the boredom...
The only factor that went in its favor was the 4-star ratings and glowing reviews. But these reviews didn't help in boosting the ticket sales of this magnum opus.