Post Diwali/Idd week, the business of Hindi films is sliding downwards. If the low-key response to DEEWANE HUYE PAAGAL sent shock waves from East to West and North to South, two of the three films that opened this week only added to the woes of a worried industry.
Generally speaking, the business isn't upbeat in winter, partly because the cold wave affects the evening shows in North India. With moviegoers avoiding stepping out at nights thanks to the chilly weather, the theatre occupancy drops to as low as 5% in certain shows. But this winter is different. The flow of biggies in December and January is for all to see.
The Friday gone by [December 2] witnessed the release of three films, all produced by A-list names: Prakash Jha [APAHARAN], Percept Picture Company [HOME DELIVERY] and Ramgopal Varma [MR. YA MISS]. Unfortunately, none opened to a response that is normally associated with biggies.
APAHARAN had the best opening of the three. While the opening in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar was decent, the initial response at other parts of the country ranged from average to below average. In my personal opinion, APAHARAN is not as strong as Jha's previous film GANGAAJAL. Besides, the excessive length of the film [almost 3 hours] and lack of relief to offset the heavy goings-on didn't auger well with a section of the audience [families, youth].
Businesswise, if the collections at some single screens were impressive, the film cut a sorry picture at several multiplexes. It was a study in contrast!
With a heavy price tag attached to the film, APAHARAN might prove a plus project in U.P. and Bihar mainly. At other places, the film is unlikely to sustain given its average merits as also keeping in mind the barrage of releases week after week [three films again this week: EK AJNABEE, NEIL 'N' NIKKY, KALYUG].
As for HOME DELIVERY, the negative reports were evident on Thursday night itself [premiere screening]. In my 25-year career as a film journalist, I've rarely come across a film that garnered such negativity soon after the first screening had ended. Even the common man was so vocal…
To state that the collections of HOME DELIVERY were apologetic would be putting it mildly. Businesswise, HOME DELIVERY is one of the biggest setbacks of 2005. And its failure doesn't come as a surprise at all.
The business of the third release, MR. YA MISS, was in the same league as HOME DELIVERY. At places slightly better, at places at par, at places lower. But both were sailing in the same boat. To cut a long story short, MR. YA MISS is yet another flop from the film-making 'factory'.
THIS WEEK, LAST YEAR
[Weekend: December 3-5, 2004]
With the week witnessing no release, the Akshaye-Kareena starrer HULCHUL got an open run for the second consecutive week. Meanwhile, Yash Raj's VEER-ZAARA continued to hold sway in Overseas. In fact, the theatrical business in Overseas was so big [the film had already grossed Rs. 25.5 crores from just two markets -- U.S.A. and U.K.] that the production house was, quite expectedly, feeling on top of the world.