The suspense is over! The week we were waiting for has finally arrived. The clash of two major films [KHAKEE, AETBAAR] has been the topic of discussion within and outside the industry.
The question uppermost on everyone's lips is, who'll win the race? Meaning, will KHAKEE take a lead over AETBAAR? Or will AETBAAR overpower KHAKEE? Or will the clash prove beneficial for both, like it happened when GADAR and LAGAAN released on the same day?
Personally speaking, I am not in favour of such clashes.
The tragedy here is, a producer spends months to ready his script, a year or two to film the script, another three months for post-production, add two more months for promotion, but he gets too impatient the moment the film is ready. Making a film with utmost care is the right way to go about things, but giving it a proper release is equally important.
The publicity has to be right, as also the chain of theatres that are chosen to exhibit the film. The release date plays a key role as well. An open week, without any major opposition, is considered ideal for the release.
But the question that disturbs me is, who benefits from these clashes? Neither of the producers, since the audience gets divided in the process. As for the viewer, he has to make a choice. Unfortunately, this choice can prove detrimental for one of the films.
While in conversation with a leading distributor early this week, he made a valid observation about the clashes: "Didn't LAGAAN and GADAR click in the same week of release? So why is the industry grumbling?"
You have a point Mr. Distributor, but what about the countless examples of two or more biggies cutting into each other's business?
THE BUSINESS IS DIVIDED
The business of films can be divided into two categories these days – business at multiplexes and business at single-screen theatres.
There have been instances of films faring exceptionally well at multiplexes, but proving a damp squib at single-screen theatres. That's what happened with Ramgopal Varma's thriller EK HASINA THI.
The national press as well as those who spent their hard-earned money to buy the ticket of the film gave it glowing reviews, but its overall business continued to be on the lower side.
The opening of the film was poor at most places, although the collections at the multiplexes of Mumbai, Delhi and Pune in particular picked up steadily as days progressed.
However, the single-screen theatres have been reporting below-the-mark business. Now this is baffling, considering the fact that the film is a taut thriller narrated in a format that can easily be understood by the urban audience as well as the hoi polloi.