The week gone by witnessed the release of two biggies – BAGHBAN and KHEL. Both the films boasted of an extra-ordinary cast, were promoted aggressively prior to their theatrical release and released at a time when the weekend had many holidays to offer [October 2 was Gandhi Jayanti – national holiday, October 4 and 5 were Saturday and Sunday, respectively – holidays again].
Yet, despite so many factors in their favour, the opening of both BAGHBAN and KHEL was shockingly low almost everywhere. What went wrong? Why didn't the cinema-going public throng the theatres screening these films? Ravi Chopra [BAGHBAN], prominent exhibitor Manoj Desai and Prakash Khubchandani of Popcorn Entertainment [KHEL] offer their opinion on this issue.
"I am thoroughly satisfied with the response. The film has been appreciated by people from all walks of life. There's no denying that the business on the first two days was affected due to the Navratri festival, but in the East [Bengal], the opening was much better. I don't think the clash with another film in the same week affected its opening.
"The family audiences have taken to BAGHBAN in a big way. The collections are showing an upward trend and the way the distributors are reacting, I am expecting it to be a semi-hit, if not a major hit."
"I am impressed with the response to BAGHBAN by the family audiences. In fact, don't be surprised if BAGHBAN turns out to be the dark horse – galloping to the winning post in days to come. On the other hand, the response to KHEL has been plain average and I attribute this to the routine content of the film.
"However, the fact remains that the opening response to both the films was initially affected due to the Navratri festival, but the collections have picked up ever since."
"I think the opening response to KHEL was affected due to its release timing. We did not anticipate it would be puja time and misjudged the kind of impact it would have on the box-office. Our distributors were also keen on releasing the film on October 3 because a further delay would have meant re-scheduling it during the Idd week, when there would be several big-budget films to compete with.
"However, the collections of KHEL have been satisfactory after the first two days. I don't think the subject is mediocre or oft-repeated either. On the contrary, those who have seen the film feel it has ample to offer in terms of entertainment. We are expecting the business to perk up further during the Diwali period."