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This Love Story Disheartens!

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By: Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM

Thursday, April 20, 2006

It was touted as the first big potential hit of summer. But when Humko Deewana Kar Gaye opened on April 14, it was clear that the industry would still have to wait for a hit.

Humko Deewana Kar Gaye had three major factors going in its favor: Fresh casting [Akshay, Katrina teamed for the first time], fabulous promotion embarked upon by T-Series [who also happen to be the producers of the film] and Akshay's all-time high popularity. There were other factors too: An open week [Eight - Shani and Basic Instinct 2 were hardly any oppositions] and the onset of summer vacations.

Most important, Friday was a holiday and being Easter weekend, the general consensus within the industry was that Humko Deewana Kar Gaye would embark on a record 90% + start.

But the erratic response to Humko Deewana Kar Gaye at the ticket counters came as a complete surprise. The opening day numbers of this film ranged from 70% + [Mumbai, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh] to 20%-30% in some circuits. On Day 2 [Saturday], the business went downhill, while Sunday was plain average. Monday was dull, while Tuesday and Wednesday were weak, partly due to the Indo-Pak cricket matches. Overall, the tremendous hype didn't translate into tremendous collections!

What went wrong?
One, the public opinion was extremely poor. In fact, word had spread that not only is the film weak in content [read next para], but even the length of the film is a major deterrent. Of course, the producers trimmed the film by approx. 7/8 minutes on Day 2, but they couldn't undo the harm.

Two, the tremendous hype surrounding the film only worked to its disadvantage. The promotion -- qualitatively and quantitatively speaking -- was superb. But the content [script] didn't match the colossal expectations arising due to the fabulous promotion. Let's face it, there's nothing original about the film. In fact, Humko Deewana Kar Gaye comes across as a poor imitation of Yash Raj's successful films, besides a number of Hollywood films.

Strangely, Raj Kanwar went around town claiming that it's an original love story. Akshay too endorsed a similar opinion. Of course, a few gullible journos bought the story, but the fact remains that the junta gave it a thumbs down.

The sole person who stands to benefit from Humko Deewana Kar Gaye is Katrina Kaif, who has won all-round praise for her performance in the film. For Akshay Kumar, it's his fifth disappointment in a row [Deewane Huye Paagal, Dosti - Friends Forever [except Hindi belt], Family - Ties of Blood, Mere Jeevan Saathi and now Humko Deewana Kar Gaye].

As for the distributors who bought the film for astronomical amounts, it is likely to make a hole in most distributors' pockets!

The collections of the second release, Eight - Shani, were in the range of 5%-8% on Day 1. Need I elaborate more?

THIS WEEK, LAST YEAR

[Weekend: April 15-17, 2005]

If the film industry was ecstatic last week thanks to the flying start generated by LUCKY, it was back to square one this weekend. The week witnessed four significant releases -- Mumbai Xpress, Kuchh Meetha Ho Jaye, Khamoshh - Khauff Ki Raat and Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi -- and barring Mumbai Xpress [at certain metros], the opening weekend collections of the remaining three films punctured the morale of the industry.

Mumbai Xpress fared better than the rest, but I strongly feel that the film wasn't promoted to the optimum prior to its release. Another two/three weeks of aggressive promotion would've only enhanced the prospects of the film.

On the other hand, Kuchh Meetha Ho Jaye was aggressively promoted prior to its release. A section of the industry was optimistic that it would fetch a better start thanks to its qualitative promos and Arshad's popularity, post Munnabhai M.B.B.S. and Hulchul. But nothing of the sort happened.

Khamoshh - Khauff Ki Raat also went completely unnoticed. Shilpa Shetty's seductive posture on the billboards didn't ensure even a moderate start for this thriller, while Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, which won rave reviews from the media, is not the kind of film that would appeal to an average moviegoer.

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