A strife-torn film industry was praying that the Diwali releases do the trick. The prayers seem to have been answered. Although, I must add, the clash of four biggies in one week has affected the business of some films at certain centers. Yet, it goes without saying that the Diwali and Idd festivals have seen a major boost in film business. The crowds are back… and how!
Yash Chopra's VEER-ZAARA has staked claim on the No. 1 position. It was meant to take a flying start at the turnstiles and the film behaved exactly the way one expected it to.
Like all keenly anticipated films, VEER-ZAARA was hotly discussed within and outside the film industry. The response has been mixed - some have loved the film, some have given it thumbs down. But this is no new trend. Blockbusters like MURDER, MAIN HOON NA and MUJHSE SHAADI KAROGI were also subjected to [unwanted?] criticism by a section of the film industry in particular.
I find this behaviour pretty weird. Before the release of every big-budget film, we have almost everyone delivering standard lines like 'Let's hope the film clicks, it's so important for the survival of the film industry', so on and so forth.
But no sooner does the first show concludes, a section of the industry is out to pull the same film down. And even before the first day comes to a close, statements and nasty sms messages like 'The collections have already started declining at so and so centre' or 'Public response is poor, the film will crash on Saturday itself' do the rounds of the industry. It's a vicious game and rival camps have a field day, indulging in all the mud slinging.
Irrespective of the loose talk surrounding VEER-ZAARA, the collections of the film continue to be extra-ordinary. And that's what counts eventually. The Chopra policy of making the best of the situation has paid off in a big way. The film has had a wide release [approx. 500 prints in the domestic market, 200 prints overseas] and if the initial business is an indicator, the Chopras have a hit on their hand. How big a hit it eventually emerges to be, the trends in the coming days would make that clear.
All those self-styled 'trade analysts', who have zilch knowledge about film business but continue to make irresponsible statements about VEER-ZAARA, need to take immediate lessons on film business and the way the industry functions.
I strongly feel that had AITRAAZ been a solo release, the results would've been much, much better. Not that they are frighteningly poor at the moment. The film did have a shaky start, fetching a 50-60% opening at several cinema halls across the country. But the collections did show a jump from Saturday onwards, at several centres across the country.
Again, the industry was quick to write off AITRAAZ, labeling it as 'a slick fare with bold theme that won't find acceptance with the commoners'. But the collections of AITRAAZ have a different story to tell. The film has shown a marked improvement in day-wise collections and with strong word of mouth, it should consolidate its status in days to come.
Ramgopal Varma's gamble to pit NAACH in the same week as VEER-ZAARA and AITRAAZ misfired bigtime. Not that NAACH would've set new b.o. records had it been released in an open week. Coming from the maker of RANGEELA, SATYA, COMPANY and BHOOT, NAACH was more of an experiment. An abstract piece of work, it just failed to strike a chord with the paying public.
In the recent times, skimpily-dressed Mallika Sherawat [KIS KIS KI KISMAT] and Antra Mali [NAACH] have been given a cold response by the hoi polloi. What does it indicate?
As for MUGHAL-E-AZAM, this epic too has met with a mixed response. The film is faring well at a few centres, but at some places, it's still struggling to stand on its feet in the face of tough competition.
But there's a silver lining: There's no big release next Friday and one hopes that the Diwali releases will sparkle brightly in the days to come.