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36 china town business

By: Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM

Thursday, May 11, 2006

After a low-key April, which saw a number of biggies falling flat on their faces, the month of May began on a better note with 36 China Town. The much-hyped whodunit, directed by the badshaahs of thrillers [Abbas-Mustan], had a potent start at several places, especially at multiplexes. That sure came as a respite in this dry season.

There was tremendous curiosity to watch the whodunit. Besides, the stance of no private screenings-no paid previews prior to its release only sharpened the interest in this Mukta Arts-produced enterprise. That explains why the film started well at several centres [65%-75%], although the opening numbers at some places [single screens] were plain ordinary. The audience attendance was clearly divided.
The prime reason why Abbas-Mustan's Khiladi, Baazigar and even Aitraaz [pitted against Veer-Zaara] worked was not thanks to star power, but the power of content. In that respect, 36 China Town is definitely a major letdown.

I disagree with the theory that suspense films lack the power to sustain once the suspense is out. There are innumerable instances of whodunits/suspense fares enjoying a meritorious 25 and 50 week run at movieplexes and that wouldn't be possible without repeat viewings by the aam junta. 36 China Town doesn't satiate your appetite in the first round, so repeat viewings [also a long run] are ruled out for this reason.

The opening of 36 China Town did come as a breather for an industry that's fervently praying that the summer releases do the trick. While the opening weekend numbers of 36 China Town were generally favorable, the business went downhill from Monday/Tuesday onwards.

As things stand today, the business at multiplexes is better, but is plain ordinary at single screens. The heat wave in several parts of the country has also made a dent!

[Weekend: May 6-8, 2005]

Ekta Kapoor has achieved an enviable status on the small screen, with her shows dominating the popularity charts. But success continued to elude her when she tried her hand at feature film production. Her first three releases -- Kyun Kii... Main Jhuth Nahin Bolta, Kucch To Hai and Krishan Cottage -- all starting with 'K', went kaput at the ticket window.

But with Kyaa Kool Hai Hum, the mother and daughter team of Shobha Kapoor and Ekta Kapoor were grinning from ear to ear. Not because the film abounds in funny jokes and situations, but because the business of the film was upbeat.

The promos of Kyaa Kool Hai Hum had generated excitement for the film and the industry was optimistic that it would open to decent houses. This Tusshar-Ritesh starrer started off with 50%-60% collections, with the box-office numbers showing a gradual increase with every show. In fact, the collections on Day 1 itself showed an upward trend at several cinema halls across the country.

On the other hand, Main Aisa Hi Hoon didn't generate any heat at the box-office. This Harry Baweja-directed film had an exciting face-value as its trump card, but the moviegoer was just not interested.

Frankly, the promos of this Ajay-Sushmita-Esha starrer itself did not create much buzz amongst cinegoers. Consequently, its not-too-exciting opening didn't really come as a surprise. But what did come as a jolt were the opening numbers at several places, which were in the range of 20%-25%.

A key factor that went against the film is the regularity with which Ajay Devgan starrers were hitting the marquee. Any A-list actor shouldn't have more than two/three releases in a calendar year, but Main Aisa Hi Hoon happens to be Ajay's sixth release in five months [Insan, Blackmail, Zameer, Tango Charlie, Kaal and Main Aisa Hi Hoon]. In fact, two Ajay starrers [Kaal, Main Aisa Hi Hoon] had been released back-to-back, in two consecutive weeks, which is definitely not a healthy trend.

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