In the early 1990s, a new breed of film-makers erupted on the screen. Sooraj R. Barjatya [Maine Pyar Kiya], Dharmesh Darshan [Lootere] and Aditya Chopra [Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge] were three prominent names that were revered in every filmi office. Later, Karan Johar joined the tribe with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and the 'awesome foursome' [a title coined by me in one of my editorials then] were expected to take the entertainment industry to a new peak.
Dharmesh Darshan went on to make the all-time blockbuster Raja Hindustani next and there was no looking back. This younger son of a prominent Central India distributor continued to enjoy an enviable status a decade ago. Sadly, Dharmesh couldn't recreate the success story in his forthcoming endeavors. Yet, no one lost hope. A Dharmesh Darshan film never had dearth of buyers or moviegoers.
Despite failures, Dharmesh continued to attract the best of production houses like Boney Kapoor [Bewafaa] and the Jains of Venus [Mela, Dhadkan]. So, when Dharmesh decided to reinvent his style with Aap Ki Khatir [his third film for the Jains], the film industry was optimistic that his new endeavor would prove to be a turning point in his career.
But Aap Ki Khatir has emerged a cropper, belied all expectations and proved a major disappointment. It's a failure... as a film, as a business proposition. Released two weeks after Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna and with no major opposition alongside, the opening numbers of Aap Ki Khatir should've been in the range of 85% +. But no one expected the film to cut a sorry picture, with shockingly low collections.
The desi adaptation of The Wedding Date started on a disappointing 30% + note, but went downhill on Day 1 itself. The evening and night shows plummeted to 20% +, which was a clear indicator that the film had been rejected.
What went wrong? Sure, Dharmesh was saddled with a poor script, but even the direction left a lot to be desired. A couple of well executed sequences aren't enough; the film has to appeal in its entirety. Even if the content is strictly average but is backed by a solid climax, it helps. Alas, AAP KI KHATIR faltered big time in its second hour, with the penultimate reels looking like one bad dream.
If the weekend business of Aap Ki Khatir was disheartening, the business crashed further on weekdays [15% +]. From the business point of view, it's expected to make a big hole in the pockets of its investors.
As for the second release Sandwich, all I can say is that this supposedly comic caper proved to be a bad joke for its backers.
THIS WEEK, LAST YEAR
[Weekend: August 26-28, 2005]
The uncertainty over the release of Boney Kapoor's biggie No Entry made big news. That the film wouldn't make it to theatres on August 26 spread like wild fire, even as Boney was involved in serious discussions with his creditors. There was panic within the industry.
As a result, when the delivery of prints commenced from Wednesday night/Thursday morning, the industry realized that the film would make it in the scheduled week, although the prints wouldn't reach everywhere on Friday.
The prints of No Entry didn't reach major centres of the country till Saturday. But the harm had been done by then. Confused that the release had been cancelled/called off, not many people sauntered into movieplexes to watch No Entry on Friday. In fact, the Friday collections ranged between 30%-50% almost everywhere. The dull opening of No Entry did catch the industry unaware, although everyone agreed that it had everything to do with the confusing signals sent out [vis-À-vis its release], not its merits.
Saturday onwards, the film gathered momentum and by Saturday evening, the verdict was loud and clear: No Entry had stormed into people's hearts.
The second release of the week, Iqbal, had a slow and steady rise over the weekend. Nagesh Kukunoor's much-acclaimed film opened to an astonishingly low 15%-25% on Friday, climbed to 60% by Saturday evening and was 70% + on Sunday at major multiplexes.
The glowing reviews in the media and the all-round appreciation by the discerning moviegoers helped the film consolidate its status over the weekend at metros mainly. The strong word of mouth helped tremendously and despite a huge opposition like No Entry, this Subhash Ghai-produced film attracted ample footfalls at multiplexes.
As for the third release, Bhaggmati - The Queen of Fortunes, it was a commercial and critical disappointment from the word 'Go'.