The ghost has scored over human beings. At a time when the biggest of stars and their products are falling like a pack of cards, the opening of RAAZ, a supernatural thriller, has come as a surprise.
In one of my television interviews around two weeks ago, I was asked to comment on the box-office potential of RAAZ and I went on record to state that the film would take a flying start all over. The confidence stemmed from three factors –
*One, the aggressive promotion of the film was bound to yield positive results;
*Two, the seeped-in-melody tunes by Nadeem-Shravan had already boosted the prospects;
*Three, the premise of the film (supernatural genre) was a welcome change from the patriotic fares and family sagas that were being thrust on cinegoers week after week.
The success of RAAZ has given a boost to those who were in the process of producing films with newcomers. Prior to this, STYLE and YEH DIL AASHIQANAA, also starring new faces, had met with a positive response at the turnstiles.
The success of the three films is an eye-opener for those who think that films with a mammoth cast can pull the audiences to the theatres.
The success of the three films indicates that the audience wants to see fresh faces, provided the packaging and promotion is right.
On the other hand, FILHAAL was an absolute letdown in terms of script, direction, song placement and overall content.
The story of the film (surrogate mother) is bold for the Indian audiences. Abbas-Mustan tried it in CHORI CHORI CHUPKE CHUPKE and succeeded partly. But FILHAAL has been rejected outright at almost every centre.
The expectations from FILHAAL were enormous. Mainly because the film was scripted and directed by Meghna Gulzar. Unfortunately, the film lacked the sensitivity so important in a subject like this. Also, Meghna's story-telling (usage of flashbacks, especially) was faulty.
MIDWEEK BOX-OFFICE REPORT
MUMBAI CITY-SUBURBS, GUJARAT, MAHARASHTRA:
The opening in Mumbai city was 100% and at the rate the film is going, the collections should close at 95% at the end of the week. In Ahmedabad, Baroda and other stations of Gujarat, the film is excellent. Ditto for Pune and other centres of Maharashtra. In Sangli, the second day collections were better than the first.
The opening was excellent at Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Jammu, Faridabad, Patiala and Karnal, although the reports are mixed. But despite diverse public opinion, will prove an earner in the circuit.
DELHI, UTTAR PRADESH:
The film opened with 30 prints in this circuit and the start in Delhi was fantastic. In Uttar Pradesh too, the opening was akin to a big star cast film. However, in Delhi city, a slight drop was noticed from Tuesday, while the collections continue to be rock-steady in Uttar Pradesh.
The film took a flying start in Jaipur, Jodhpur and Sri Ganganagar. The film is poised for a long run here.
The opening in Patna, Danapur, Dhanbad, Bhaga, Jamshedpur, Hajipur, Sitamarhi and Muzaffarpur was bumper. The film has been liked immensely and is poised for a long run.
The first three days were fantastic, but the collections registered a drop from the fourth day. However, the film should prove a profitable venture.
C.P. BERAR (parts of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh):
Its start in Nagpur, Raipur, Amravati and other centres was fabulous. 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. shows were held at several centres and the response was 100%. What has surprised the distributors/exhibitors here is that a film starring new faces has registered a cent per cent response.
C.I. (Madhya Pradesh):
The collections in Indore and Bhopal are good, although the response is mixed. The business at big centres is expected to be better.
The film opened to 98% collections, which is fantastic. The masses have liked the film immensely.
MUMBAI CITY-SUBURBS, GUJARAT:
The opening in Mumbai wasn't good and the film registered a drop as days progressed. In Ahmedabad and Baroda as well, the collections are below par.
The opening was ordinary here. The reports are far from satisfactory.
DELHI, UTTAR PRADESH:
Despite good publicity, the film did not open to an encouraging start in Delhi as well as in Uttar Pradesh. A losing proposition.
The opening and the collections on subsequent days in Jaipur are below the mark. Not appreciated.
The collections and the public report are poor.
Neither the reports, nor the collections are decent.
The gentry have liked the film, but a long run is ruled out.