Let me start this week’s column with a satirical story that’s quite popular within the film industry…
A film producer went on fasts, organized havans, prayed religiously, offered millions in charity. Hours before the release of his film, the producer consulted his astrologer, ‘Sir, will my movie prove a success?’ There was a pause. The astrologer answered, ‘That’s for the moviegoers to decide. You’ll have to wait for their [audience] reaction after the first show concludes. Only then will you know where your film stands.’
Seriously, can anyone read the mindset of a cinegoer? Can anyone say with surety that a film starring the biggest of names would attract big crowds? Let’s face it, film business is dicey business. Yahan har Shukravaar kundli badalti hain. Till yesterday, we eulogized SRK. A few months later, we extolled praises on Aamir. Today, Hrithik is the flavor of the season. One Friday changes perceptions!
Let’s talk about BHAGAM BHAG, the new release. Let me refresh your memory vis-à-vis the factors that went in its favor: Formidable star cast [Akshay, Govinda, Paresh Rawal, Lara Dutta, Rajpal Yadav, Jackie Shroff], a winning director-writer combo [Priyadarshan/Neeraj Vora], magnanimous producers [Ashtavinayak, Popcorn], fantastic pre-release promotion [qualitatively and quantitatively], solo release [no major release alongside] and Christmas vacations.
Armed with so many plusses, BHAGAM BHAG should’ve embarked on a record start at the ticket window. In fact, irrespective of its merits, the film should’ve fetched a dream start on Day 1 at least. But it didn’t!
BHAGAM BHAG showed an upward trend on Saturday, while Sunday was excellent. In Mumbai, if the average occupancy was 65% on Friday, it shot up to 80% on Saturday, 90% on Sunday and 75% again on Monday [Christmas holiday]. Delhi too followed a similar trend. Uttar Pradesh has been performing better from Day 1. In fact, the business in Delhi-U.P. territory is heartening and UTV, its Delhi-U.P. distributors, are beaming with joy already.
Let's have a look at the figures in Delhi-U.P. territory [4-day totals]
|S. No||Cinema||Station||4 days|
|4||Fun Republic - CRM||Delhi||7,96,088.14|
|5||PVR Vikas Puri||Delhi||7,72,988.34|
|6||Satyam - JNK||Delhi||7,63,412.46|
|7||Fun Republic - Pitam Pura||Delhi||7,55,283.40|
|8||M2K - Rohini||Delhi||7,44,201.00|
|9||M2K - Pitam Pura||Delhi||6,96,572.40|
|10||Satyam - PN||Delhi||6,38,552.08|
|S. No||Station||4 days|
The business has slided downwards in Delhi, while Uttar Pradesh is very strong.
Indore [C.I. territory] had a slow start. Things improved gradually, but fell again from Monday onwards. Have a look at the box-office figures at this centre:-
What goes in BHAGAM BHAG’s favor is that the first four days have been energetic at most places. Thanks to the strategy of screening the film on multiple screens, the distributors would recover a sizable chunk of their investment thanks to the 4-day weekend. But what curtails its prospects is the not-too-glowing feedback by the paying public. The word of mouth ranges from ordinary to below average, which clearly rules out a long innings for the film.
BHAGAM BHAG faced a steep fall from Tuesday onwards. Tuesday was 40%-45% at places, while certain screens reported 30% occupancy. Wednesday also saw a further decline. As things stand today, the distributors would recover their investment thanks to the vacations and lack of a major opposition in its second weekend. At best, a good average/average proposition!
THIS WEEK IN 2005
[Weekend: December 23-25, 2005]
The Christmas week witnessed two major releases and the best part was that both catered to a diverse audience. While DOSTI - FRIENDS FOREVER was the typical Bollywood masala flick, VAAH! LIFE HO TOH AISI was aimed at the kiddies mainly.
Somehow, Suneel Darshan’s films have found a strong market in the Hindi belt. DOSTI - FRIENDS FOREVER was no exception. It fared well in the Hindi belt, but was way below the mark in some circuits. On the other hand, VAAH! LIFE HO TOH AISI had a somber start at several places, but was decent at multiplexes. However, things didn’t improve in its forthcoming days.
THIS WEEK IN 2004
[Weekend: December 24-26, 2004]
With Indo-Pak relations improving tremendously in 2004, the audiences were just not interested in watching anti-Pak themes in movies. That explains why films like L.O.C., LAKSHYA and DIL PARDESI HO GAYAA that focused on the Indo-Pak conflict were given a cold shoulder by the paying public.
That’s what happened to AB TUMHARE HAWALE WATAN SATHIYO as well. Considering its mammoth star cast and also in view of the fact that the makers had promoted it aggressively prior to its release, the film should’ve opened to a 90% + response at a majority of centres. But at several centres, the collections ranged from 40% to 70%; at some it was slightly better.
The second release, RAINCOAT, went unnoticed. Despite all the hype a section of the media had built around this film, it didn’t compel the paying public to throng the multiplexes screening this Ajay-Aishwarya starrer. The frosty response to RAINCOAT proved yet again that art house cinema in India is strictly limited to a handful of critics and a few viewers at metros. Nothing more!
The third release, AABRA KA DAABRA, a 3-D film on magic, also didn’t fetch magical figures.