How times change!
After the success of MURDER, HAWAS, GIRL FRIEND, JULIE and TAUBA TAUBA, sex-based themes were considered 'safe' at the box-office. Post-MURDER, a number of producers, who were in search of that elusive formula to woo the cinegoers, started similar genre films because financiers were ready to back them and distributors were more than excited to acquire the rights at fancy prices.
The producer would churn out a film in less than six months and make a cool profit in the bargain. And if the film worked at the ticket window, there would be no dearth of financiers and distributors for the producer's forthcoming projects.
But the bubble has burst!
Post-KIS KIS KI KISMAT [Mallika Sherawat] and NAACH [Antra Mali], that had skin show in abundance but failed to entice the cinegoers from Day 1, the producers suddenly woke up to reality. And with SHEESHA and CHAAHAT - EK NASHA failing to fetch a face-saving start, the film industry, especially those who had tremendous confidence on this genre, find themselves in a quandary.
Both SHEESHA and CHAAHAT - EK NASHA opened to poor numbers. The opening of SHEESHA did come as a surprise primarily because the film was sold at fancy prices on the basis of its eye-catching promos and the distributors were optimistic that this Neha Dhupia starrer would take a flying start, just the way JULIE did.
But everything is so unpredictable here! The masses were just not interested in this 2005 adaptation of SHARMILEE cum DARR. SHEESHA had steamier scenes when compared to JULIE, yet the masses decided to give it a skip.
On the other hand, CHAAHAT - EK NASHA was more of an emotional film that had its share of titillation, but the makers preferred to publicize it as a sex-loaded flick. The new, bindaas look of Preeti Jhangiani loomed large on the posters of CHAAHAT - EK NASHA, but its fate was worse than SHEESHA at the box-office.
While CHAAHAT - EK NASHA was being made, the film was promoted as one based on the life of Madonna and Britney Spears. But neither did the strategy attract the upmarket crowd, nor did the provocative dialogues in the promos prompt the hoi polloi to throng the cinema halls.
Before I discuss the potential of the third release, HUMDUM, I must narrate something significant about the film.
Last week, the promotion department of HUMDUM sent out regular mails stating that the film had been scheduled for a February 18 release. But a few days later, the makers suddenly decided to prepone its release by one week. So, with as good as nil publicity, HUMDUM had a limited release on February 11.
Targeted at the multiplex crowd, HUMDUM has a refreshingly different theme. And the subject is well handled by director Kushan Nandy. Although HUMDUM isn't an epic by any standards, it does boast of several interesting and entertaining moments.
Despite its sudden release, the film had a comparatively better opening than the two releases of the week. Released at a few multiplexes [in limited shows], the collections of the film have been steady, but for it to sustain in the coming days [multiple releases this week!], a heavy push in terms of promotion is of paramount importance.