One more week passes by. And the tally of box-office duds keeps piling up. The two releases of last week - KISMAT and TUM? - weren't expected to change the fortunes any way.
KISMAT relied on the same old archaic formula that the viewers have witnessed since time immemorial. It brought back memories of the clich?idden plots attempted in the 1970s, which have been cycled and recycled in the years gone by.
Strangely, our writers seem to think that the tried-and-tested formulaic stuff still works in today's age and times. They need to wake up and smell coffee!
But one did expect TUM? to be a different fare in view of the fact that director Aruna Raje has strived to deliver daringly different cinema in the past. However, it was akin to watching two disjointed stories in the garb of a single film. Sadly, neither were the hot scenes between Manisha and the two men in her life [Karan Nath, Rajat Kapoor] exciting enough, nor did the whodunit drama in the second half keep you on the edge.
Which brings me back to the pertinent question: Why blame the viewer for staying away from cinema halls, when the fact remains that none of the recent releases have had the power to lure and entice them?
"The problem lies with us, not the viewers," Adlabs' chief Manmohan Shetty [who co-produced INTEHA, GANGAAJAL, MAIN MADHURI DIXIT BANNA CHAHTI HOON and MUNNABHAI M.B.B.S.] tells me, "It's time we reinvented our strategies. You can't expect the viewer to lap up anything we offer."
Ramgopal Varma endorses Shetty's viewpoint. "The viewer of today can judge a film from the promo itself. He awaits the reports before sauntering in the cinema hall. The era of formula-ridden films is over," feels RGV, one maker who has strived to give viewers a new story in every film he makes.
"The future of the production sector looks bleak at the rate things are going," producer Bablu Pachisia [ZAMEEN, MUSKAAN] asserts, "The producer is in troubled waters. The number of distributors has dwindled in the recent times, so has the cinema-going public."
But I am an optimist. I personally feel that the biggies in April, May and June will bail us out of the mess we've currently landed in. "But one or two stray hits won't do. We require 10-15 hits to salvage the industry," Manmohan Shetty adds. I agree!