No new film seems to be exciting the audience these days [barring MUNNABHAI M.B.B.S.]. Not the bhaigiri of Sanjay Dutt in PLAN, not even the seductive ‘Aata hain kya?’ question of an alluring Kareena Kapoor in CHAMELI or the funny [?] antics of Manisha Koirala and Sushmita Sen in PAISA VASOOL.
Did I hear someone remark “Really, box-office is so unpredictable”? I am amused! It’s no point blaming the box-office, let’s blame it on the poor quality of films we churn out week after week. We can’t blame the audiences for not flocking the theatres if the products are bad. The fault clearly lies within us!
Last Friday’s three releases – PLAN, CHAMELI and PAISA VASOOL – haven’t been able to set the cash registers jingling. Although PLAN had a better start at some stations of Uttar Pradesh and CHAMELI opened to a better response at multiplexes, the overall business of the three new releases has been on the lower side.
There were expectations from PLAN. Irrespective of the merits of the film, one was expecting the film to take a flying start, but its opening [45% to 60%] came as a rude shock, upsetting the ‘plans’ of its investors who were hopeful of reaping a rich bounty thanks to the ‘Sanju-wave’, post-MUNNABHAI M.B.B.S.
One of the reasons for the not-too-happening b.o. status of PLAN can easily be attributed to the fact that there is an overdose of Sanjay Dutt starrers in the market [MUNNABHAI M.B.B.S., L.O.C., PLAN]. And anything in excess can prove harmful. But more on this later!
On the other hand, CHAMELI had a better start at multiplexes of Mumbai and Delhi, but its opening at some stations of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab was on the lower side.
As for PAISA VASOOL, the opening was so low [the film qualifies a place in the list of ‘Top 5 lowest openings of last three years’!] that its investors must be turning red looking at the DCRs [Daily Collection Reports].
AVERT THE CLASHES
All eyes are on the two Big B starrers that are scheduled to open next week – KHAKEE and AETBAAR. The question uppermost on everyone’s minds is, is it a healthy trend to have two films of a leading star releasing on the same day?
In fact, this is the third time two or more Bachchan fares are clashing so closely. I remember, as many as five Amitabh starrers were released in four weeks way back in 1978: BE-SHARAM opened on April 14, KASME VAADE on April 21, TRISHUL on May 5 and DON on May 12. Three out of four films proved to be super-grossers then, but let’s not forget that there was no video, no television, no pirated DVDs in those days… Just radio and films!
Then, again, two Big B starrers – TOOFAN [produced by Manmohan Desai] and JAADUGAR [directed by Prakash Mehra] – were released within two weeks of each other in 1989: TOOFAN on August 11 and JAADUGAR on August 25. Both bombed!
Similarly, three Shah Rukh Khan starrers were released in three weeks in 1995 – ZAMANA DEEWANA [July 28], OH DARLING YEH HAI INDIA [August 11] and GUDDU [also on August 11]. Strangely, all three failed to leave any kind of an impression at the box-office.
That’s not all, for the year 1995 saw three more SRK starrers releasing one after the other before it came to a close – DILWALE DULHANIYA LE JAYENGE on October 20, RAM JAANE on December 1 and TRIMURTI on December 22.
More recently, there seems to be a ‘Sanjay Dutt film festival’ in progress, what with MUNNABHAI M.B.B.S. releasing on December 19, 2003, L.O.C. on December 26, 2003, PLAN on January 9, 2004 and RUDRAKSH now shifted to February 6, 2004. That means, four films in one-and-a-half months. Whew!
Even newcomers like Dino Morea and John Abraham face the risk of getting over-exposed. Dino’s ISHQ HAI TUMSE was followed by PLAN [two films in two weeks, on January 2 and January 9, 2004, respectively], while John has AETBAAR [January 23, 2004], followed by PAAP [January 30, 2004] and LAKEER [February 6, 2004] – three films in three consecutive weeks.
Ideally, there should be a 4 or 5-month gap between two films of the same star. But will our producers learn from others’ mistakes? I doubt!