I don’t wish to sound cynical, but the next few weeks are going to be tough for the Hindi film industry. The business is expected to plummet for various reasons.
Over the years, it has been noticed that the business of Hindi films takes a dip during the pre-Diwali weeks. The 9-day festival of Navratri makes a dent in the evening shows at movieplexes, especially in Mumbai/Maharashtra, North India and Gujarat, while the holy month of Ramadan, also in October, will also make a further dent in the business, since a sizable chunk of moviegoers abstain from watching movies during the entire month.
That explains why most producers refrain from releasing their films in October. That also explains why most producers seem to be in a tearing hurry to release their films before Navratri and Ramadan.
The Friday gone by witnessed the release of four prominent films, all directed by first-timers: CHOCOLATE [Vivek Agnihotri], JAMES [Rohit Jugraj], KAL – YESTERDAY & TOMORROW [Ruchi Narain] and SAU JHOOTH EK SACH – THE UNINVITED [Bappaditya Roy]. But one more commonality surfaced on their opening day: All proved non-starters at the box-office.
Not much was expected from KAL – YESTERDAY & TOMORROW and SAU JHOOTH EK SACH – THE UNINVITED anyways, so their poor show at the turnstiles doesn’t really come as a surprise. But the non-performance or let’s say the dismal opening of CHOCOLATE and JAMES did come as a jolt.
Both CHOCOLATE and JAMES were supported by a strong publicity blitzkrieg, but the near-empty halls that greeted the two films came as a complete shocker. CHOCOLATE had an impressive star cast and there was a positive buzz prior to its release, but the film failed to attract footfalls even at multiplexes. Its opening ranged between 30% and 45% at most places.
What really went against the film were the negative reports that started flowing from its first show itself. The average Indian cinegoer couldn’t connect with the goings-on. While the collections did show an improvement at multiplexes on Saturday or Sunday, the collections were back to 25% + from Monday onwards.
Despite all the hype surrounding it, JAMES also opened to poor houses everywhere. The hype surrounding RGV’s new discovery, Mohit Ahlawat, didn’t translate into packed houses. Known for making path-breaking cinema all the while, I wonder what RGV actually saw in a script like this.
JAMES saw a shockingly low turnout [10% to 20% +] at several centres. People didn’t venture into movieplexes screening the film and those who did, gave it a thumbs down. After having monitored the collections, it wouldn’t be wrong to state that JAMES is amongst RGV’s weakest films at the box-office.
All in all, the industry was poorer by a few crores this week!
THIS WEEK, LAST YEAR
After PHIR MILENGE, RAKHT, HUM KAUN HAI? and DIL NE JISE APNA KAHAA [all opened to an alarmingly low response], EK SE BADHKAR EK followed a similar pattern throughout the country [weekend: September 17-19, 2004]. Its opening ranged between 10% and 20% at certain cinema halls across the nation.
Despite being sold at throwaway prices, this comedy only proved to be a tragedy for its distributors!