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From Tamasha to Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani: Does the re-release mantra work?

en Bollywood News From Tamasha to Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani: Does the re-release mantra work?

Theatrical reruns of older movies used to be a regular affair until the 1990s. After this, this trend began to peter away as the digital domain opened even wider (cable TV, satellite, DVDs et al and now we have OTT streaming with just a four- or eight-week window).

From Tamasha to Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani: Does the re-release mantra work?

From Tamasha to Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani: Does the re-release mantra work?

But in the past few years, some re-runs have resurfaced with a difference: special shows of selected films connected with specific big names (Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Amitabh Bachchan, Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth) on their special occasions (centenaries, for example).

Other blockbusters, like a Khal-Nayak or a Koi…Mil Gaya also had special screenings on their release anniversaries. Sholay had an abortive bid to cash in as a 3-D film, but otherwise does very well in reruns all over the country even today. Gadar (2001) had a theatrical release a month before the scheduled opening of Gadar 2 (2023) as a promotional exercise. The Pan-India rerun worked big time, both by itself and as the best possible promo for its sequel, which also went on to do record business.

Not that the re-releases today are as expansive or ‘confident’ as of yore, when an occasional movie would even (re-)run at 3 or 4 shows a day, even for weeks! One ultimate example was a film considered ahead of their times when first released—Raj Kapoor’s 1970 flop, Mera Naam Joker, which, as per trade analyst Taran Adarsh, did very well when released theatrically.

The other, also ahead of its times, was a personal experience—Jhuk Gaya Aasman (1968). When I went to watch it at Mumbai’s Gaiety cinema for a Friday evening show decades ago, I found that all 4 shows on that day and the rest of the week were “Houseful” in advance! But in its year of release, it had merely added to leading man Rajendra Kumar’s flop tally!

Special shows today

Interestingly, the three films set to release again this week are eclectic indeed as a selection: Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani (a mid-2023 hit), Tamasha (2015, which had been unsuccessful then!) and the Marathi blockbuster, Ved, a 2022 release that is the highest box-office grossing movie in that language to date.

That the people need a mindset change is arguably the reason why re-runs today are still limited. The experience of watching classics on the big screen (especially now with great optics and sound in plush movie halls) is still unmatched, feels Manoj Desai of G-7 multiplex, Mumbai. But, in a way, it is quite puzzling that shows now are restricted to a handful, and in these three cases, so far as Mumbai is concerned, only in movie halls largely in far-off suburbs like Dahisar and Mumbai’s satellite towns, Thane and Navi Mumbai! Moreover, a look at a booking portal clearly indicates that most of the shows of these films in Mumbai region are at PVR-INOX screens, whose spokespersons, despite repeated effort, were unavailable for comment.

From Tamasha to Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani: Does the re-release mantra work?

Trade analyst Taran Adarsh says that the obvious reason for re-releases is the fact that no recent film has done well and so there is a severe paucity of content in cinema halls. But even as one can understand the re-rerun of Rocky… and Ved, how does he explain a Tamasha, which had not done well at all?

“It is obvious that they are cashing in on the huge success of Animal and the recent hit-streak of Ranbir Kapoor (Brahmastra: Part One—Shiva and Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar),” Taran opined. Raj Bansal, veteran Rajasthan distributor, added, “Actually, if it is about Ranbir and even Deepika Padukone, who has had Pathaan and Jawan, as a pair, the logical thing would be to release their 2013 hit, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani.”

Taran agreed, but said, “There will always be different opinions and every film has a different production setup and studio.” But Rocky… and Yeh Jawaani… are both Karan Johar productions. “Yes, but the decision lies with the studios, which were different,” explained Taran. Agreed Bansal, “Yes, it’s the studios call.”

That most big movies can be readied to be released digitally is a fact, but according to Bansal, not all big-name filmmakers think like Aditya Chopra, Karan Johar and Sajid Nadiadwala, who believe in spending good money to ensure that the big-screen product is in sync with the times technically. The recent (private) presentation of Sarfarosh, where such finesse was not achieved, was a case in point. “But even when it was first released, Sarfarosh worked on strong content only, and technically, it was very average!” remarked Bansal.

He pointed out, “When a film is once again to be readied for the big screen, one must opt for the best technology.” The bulk of the budget for colorizing and audio-visually updating the 1961 Mughal-E-Azam in 2004 also went in doing the best for the film’s visuals, sound and music.

Sandeep Patil of Mumbai Film Company, which produced Ved, says that the whole exercise as far as Marathi films are concerned, is a part of NDTV’s moves. Not only Ved, but also Lai Bhaari, Mee Shivajirao Bhosale Boltoy and a few other Marathi super-hits are being theatrically re-released at NDTV’s initiative now. “Our screenings are between May 24 and 30,” said Patil.

Why was Ved released in single shows in far-off places like Navi Mumbai and Thane alone rather than within Mumbai limits? “That is something you will have to ask the channel,” he said. “But the film has had shows all over Maharashtra, not just in Mumbai.”

From Tamasha to Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani: Does the re-release mantra work?

The Bottom-Line

Manoj Desai, as usual, indulges in frank-speak! “2024 has been the worst-ever year for us. Among the producers, distributors and us exhibitors, it is we who suffer the most. I am planning to re-release my own 1992 film, Khuda Gawah, among the top three blockbusters of 1992, at our theatres. But the rights have now passed on from Shringar Films to someone else, and I am trying to get the film! Yes, re-releasing old films are an obvious way out to a good extent.”

He added that Vinay Choksey of Aum Exhibitors and VIP Exhibitors is his source for acquiring movies and if he is offered any good old film, he will willingly screen it. How does he analyze this whole ‘trend’ of having reruns, which were common until the digital era?

“The main thing is the content and how a film is scripted before and after interval,” thundered Desai. “Stars are not the main thing, as shown by the fates of Maidaan and Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. A vital aspect is the ticket-pricing. Thanks to our visionary managing director, Arun Nahar, our multiplex has the lowest rates.”

While conceding that OTT and the vast fare it offers in one’s homes is what dilutes the appeal of watching films on big screen and with stereo, he nevertheless states categorically that an “acchi (good) film with a great script, dialogues, music and lyrics will work in theatrical reruns even today.”

“We are screening Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge now for 30 years at Maratha Mandir in the matinee show,” he pointed out. “Even today, Saturdays and Sundays are almost full. On other days, the occupancy ranges around 40 to 50 percent! Not one show has been cancelled due to lack of patronage!”

He added that the bottom-line is always the balance of ticket price and content. “Films like Sholay, Mughal-E-Azam, Amar Akbar Anthony, Naseeb or Laawaris have had long reruns in my movie halls alone!”

Yes, reruns can help the dwindling prospects of movie halls, if cerebrally employed. But it does not make up for the lack of new appealing fare on which the industry needs to think like one for a solution.

But that’s another story!

More Pages: Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani Box Office Collection , Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani Movie Review


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