Till halfway through the year 2004, the film industry was convinced that after SRK, it's only sex that sells. The success of MURDER, JULIE, HAWAS, TAUBA TAUBA, GIRL FRIEND and even MASTI [sex comedy] made a number of producers opt for themes that would generate some revenue for them at the end of the day.
With a majority of big-budget extravaganzas flopping left, right and centre, you had to look for alternatives to survive and a number of producers felt that sex-based films, with skin show in abundance, was the order of the day.
But things changed dramatically… Mallika Sherawat's skin show in KISS KIS KI KISMAT, Antra Mali's bindaas act in NAACH and Diana Hayden's anatomy pradarshan in AB… BAS! didn't find takers. Somewhere down the line, the avid cinegoer was fed up and perhaps disgusted to watch the bare-dare acts on the big screen.
That was the first turn-around!
The second one concerns Pak-bashing in Bollywood films. Not too long ago, referring to the neighbouring country as the hub of terrorism and hurling abuses and accusations at them would draw instant applause from cinegoers. Pak-bashing was the in thing when it came to 'patriotic' films. If you love your country, show that you detest your neighbour - was the mantra adopted by some Bollywood films then.
But with Indo-Pak relations improving tremendously in 2004, the audiences were just not interested in watching anti-Pak themes in movies. That explains why films like L.O.C., LAKSHYA and DIL PARDESI HO GAYAA that focused on the Indo-Pak conflict were given a cold shoulder by the paying public.
That's what happened with AB TUMHARE HAWALE WATAN SATHIYO as well. Considering its mammoth star cast and also in view of the fact that the makers had promoted it aggressively prior to its release, the film should've opened to a 90% + response at a majority of centres. But at several centres, the collections ranged from 40% to 70%; at some it was slightly better.
Let's face it, themes on Indo-Pak relationships don't attract viewers anymore. As expected, A.T.H.W.S. has found some acceptance at some centres, but at a majority of places the level of acceptance has been extremely low.
The second release, RAINCOAT, has gone completely unnoticed. Despite all the hype a section of the media had built around this film, it didn't compel the paying public to throng the multiplexes screening this Ajay-Aishwarya starrer.
The frosty response to RAINCOAT proves yet again that art house cinema in India is strictly limited to a handful of critics and a few viewers at metros. Nothing more!
The third release, AABRA KA DAABRA, a 3-D film on magic, also couldn't come up with magical figures.