The entire film industry was in a state of shock last Friday. Reason? Here's why…
When a big-budget extravaganza with A-list names such as [producer] Firoz A. Nadiadwala, [director] Vikram Bhatt, [stars] Akshay Kumar, Shahid Kapoor, Suniel Shetty, Paresh Rawal, Om Puri, Johny Lever, Rimi Sen, with Vivek Oberoi and Aftab Shivdasani in cameos, doesn't embark on an electrifying start, what does it indicate?
Add to it the topnotch production values [it has been filmed in Dubai and U.S.A. extensively] and fantastic pre-release promotion. Also, with moviegoers giving their mandate to comic capers in the recent past [KYAA KOOL HAIN HUM, MAINE PYAAR KYUN KIYA, NO ENTRY, GARAM MASALA], everyone was convinced that DEEWANE HUYE PAAGAL, another laughathon, would embark on a 95%-100% start.
Furthermore, with Akshay going through the best phase in his career and Shahid having his next release after almost eleven months [DIL MAANGE MORE was released on December 31, 2004], an exhilarating start for DEEWANE HUYE PAAGAL was a foregone conclusion.
But producer proposes, audience disposes…
Armed with the above-mentioned plusses, besides being a solo biggie this week and winning great reviews [for a hardcore commercial film, to get a 3 and 4 star rating by critics of repute is rare!], DEEWANE HUYE PAAGAL started on a tepid note. The first day collections, ranging between 20% and 35%, sent shock waves. The collections did improve towards the evening shows as also on Saturday [60% +] and Sunday [80% to 90%], but that wasn't enough. On Monday, the verdict was loud and clear, while the non-happening business on Tuesday cemented its status.
Barring a few cities, DEEWANE HUYE PAAGAL found itself on a sticky wicket. The one aspect that puzzled everyone was that the audience feedback was tremendous, but the lavish and generous praises didn't translate into great box-office collections.
A prominent Mumbai exhibitor was completely clueless, but felt that that people were already tired of laughing on similar jokes and situations. A heavy-weight Delhi-U.P. and Punjab distributor was of the opinion that an overdose of similar comic capers [NO ENTRY, GARAM MASALA, SHAADI NO. 1] led to the non-performance of DEEWANE HUYE PAAGAL.
A section of the industry blamed the cricket matches [on Friday and also on Monday] for the low-key response. A few even opined that the marriage season in North India kept moviegoers away from movieplexes. Those connected to the film felt that the [action] promos were misleading since it's basically a fun film and comic situations should've been highlighted instead…
All I'd say is, let's blame it on Lady Luck. Let's not ignore the fact that not all comic capers can make their investors laugh all the way to the bank… a few comedies can turn into tragedies as well!
The second release of the week, THE FILM, went completely unnoticed. In fact, a number of multiplex-going viewers weren't even aware that the film had released. Not that there would've been a stampede outside multiplexes to grab a ticket of THE FILM, but the pre-release promotion was so low-key that even an average moviegoer wasn't aware of its release.
At the box-office, unfortunately, the tally of flops only continued to rise!
THIS WEEK, LAST YEAR
[Weekend: November 26-28, 2004]
Priyadarshan's last two comedies [HERA PHERI, HUNGAMA] didn't enjoy a cent per cent opening, but HULCHUL did. The fantastic start of the film came as a pleasant surprise, mainly because [i] Solo Akshaye Khanna starrers don't open so big and [ii] Comedies generally have a slow start at the ticket window, but pick up with word of mouth if the reports are positive [MUNNABHAI M.B.B.S. also had an average start].
Promoting a film keeping its essence in mind is of paramount importance. And HULCHUL delivered what the promos promised.
The second release of the week, AB… BAS!, didn't attract hordes of cinegoers despite provocative posters. In the recent past, films depicting skimpily clad women -- Mallika Sherawat [KIS KIS KI KISMAT], Antra Mali [NAACH] and Diana Hayden [AB… BAS!] -- had been shunned by the paying public.