Team India has stormed into the Final of the ongoing ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup by defeating New Zealand in the semi-final at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday November 15. The team has surpassed expectations so far by winning as many as 10 matches on a trot – they won 9 matches in the league stage followed by the semi-final.
World Cup dilemma: When Vashu Bhagnani released F.A.L.T.U a day before 2011 WC Final, took even bigger risk with Biwi No. 1
The last time the ODI World Cup was held in India was in 2011. Co-incidentally, India had reached the final on that occasion too (and won in the end). Interestingly, a day before India’s Final in that tournament against Sri Lanka on Saturday April 2, veteran producer Vashu Bhagnani under his banner Pooja Entertainment took the risk of releasing his film F.A.L.T.U a day before the final when the country was completely in the mood of the World Cup.
F.A.L.T.U starred his son Jackky Bhagnani in the lead along with Puja Gupta, Arshad Warsi, Riteish Deshmukh and Chandran Roy Sanyal. Apart from the release date, there was risk involved even in the subject of the film. It told the story of a group of friends, headed by Jackky Bhagnani’s character, who establish a fake university named Fakirchand And Lakirchand Trust University (aka F.A.L.T.U) to fool their parents as they couldn’t get admission to a good college because of their low marks. The film ends giving a message that students shouldn’t be judged on their grades alone.
Despite the period during which F.A.L.T.U released, it opened at a good number of Rs. 4.40 crores. It didn’t get affected on the day India played the World Cup Final against Sri Lanka and ended up with a first weekend collection of Rs. 13 crores. This number is decent even today for films with no stars or known faces in the lead. So, 12 years ago it was an even bigger achievement. The movie ended up collecting a good lifetime collection of Rs. 24.57 crores.
But F.A.L.T.U isn’t the only instance when Vashu Bhagnani took a risk during a cricket World Cup. He took an even bigger risk in 1999 for the release of the Salman Khan, Karisma Kapoor, Sushmita Sen, Anil Kapoor and Tabu starrer Biwi No. 1. The 1999 Cricket World Cup began on May 14 that year and Biwi No. 1 was released on May 28, which is right in the middle of the tournament.
Many had labeled this decision as faulty but Vashu Bhagnani was undeterred. His risk worked wonders as Biwi No. 1 became a superhit despite the huge hype for the World Cup back then. The film minted Rs. 25.58 crores, which was a big number 24 years ago. In a 2009 interview with Bollywood Hungama, Bhagnani, while recalling that period, had said, “I remember how the entire world was against me when I had decided to bring on Biwi No. 1 in the middle of the Cricket World Cup. In spite of huge names like Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor, Sushmita Sen, Tabu and David Dhawan, my well-wishers suggested me to hold on to my film's release.”
There is another example from the past when a major cricket tournament didn’t affect the fate of a film at the box office. The first edition of the IPL (Indian Premier League) was held in April 2008 and its hype was mammoth. Yash Raj Films released Tashan during that period and the film didn’t succeed. So, when producers Mahesh Bhatt and Mukesh Bhatt decided to release the Emraan Hashmi starrer Jannat during that season of IPL, they were criticized for the move. But Jannat ended up becoming a hit as it finished it collections on Rs. 30.10 crores.
Even the recent release Tiger 3 got released when the ongoing Cricket World Cup fever was at its peak. But the Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif and Emraan Hashmi starrer has still managed to earn good numbers.
The debate of whether one should release a keenly awaited film during an important cricket series is slowly coming to a halt, if it hasn’t already.
More Pages: F.A.L.T.U Box Office Collection , F.A.L.T.U Movie Review
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