The celebrations have come to an abrupt end. The month of January was eventful and one only hoped that the revelry and merriment would continue in the first week of February as well. But none of the new releases, except YEH SAALI ZINDAGI [which won rave reviews, besides winning 3 or more stars from critics who matter] to an extent, managed to stay afloat. Even James Cameron's SANCTUM failed to attract footfalls at cineplexes.
The expectations from YEH SAALI ZINDAGI were immense, mainly because of its provocative title and ensemble star cast. Also, in view of the fact that the project was backed by two respected names that are synonymous with qualitative cinema - Prakash Jha and Sudhir Mishra. A section of the industry also felt that the expletives would work in the mass belt, while Jha and Mishra's names would draw audience at urban centres. Sure, the film picked up marginally on Friday evening and then on Saturday and Sunday, but the business didn't double or triple as such [Fri 1.15 cr, Sat 1.65 cr, Sun 1.8 cr]. Yet, given the sudden fall in business, the numbers are decent.
What goes in its favor is its economics. The cost of production is approx. Rs. 6.25 cr, while another Rs. 4 cr has been spent on its P & A. However, the film will have to rely from India theatrical revenue mainly, since the Overseas + Music Rights revenue would hardly contribute to the booty. It would be interesting to see the kind of income it generates eventually.
On the other hand, TITANIC and AVATAR had done smashing business in India and one expected SANCTUM, which rode on the goodwill of these two hits, to lure the Indian audience in hordes, but they weren't tempted. In the past, the market for Hollywood films has grown by leaps and bounds and the returns have been exceptional. The business, at times, has been better than the Hindi films they were competing with in that particular week. But SANCTUM is a disappointment!
The next two Fridays will witness the release of two major films, which are helmed by top notch names - PATIALA HOUSE [Nikhil Advani] and 7 KHOON MAAF [Vishal Bhardwaj]. Let's hope these two films bring the celebratory mood back. Fingers and toes crossed!