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Lull Before The Storm

The production sector is at an all-time high. Almost every production house -- whether music companies turned producers or individual producers or corporate entities -- is into multiple projects these days. The recent development of K. Sera Sera and Shree Ashtavinayak Cinevision joining hands to produce fifteen films on a joint venture basis only strengthens the belief that the production wing of the film industry is going through a great phase.

But, on the flip side, the distribution sector is going through a turbulent phase. It's a known fact that the number of distributors in each territory has shrunk over a period of time. Also, most production houses have been forced to either open distribution offices in certain territories or release their films on commission basis. And the string of flops from Diwali onwards, including the two major releases of 2006 -- FAMILY [debacle] and ZINDA [flop] -- has only made a big hole in the pockets of the distributors.

"The only fraternity that's making money is the actors," two prominent producers echoed in unison a few days ago. That's true! Most actors' remuneration has spiraled incredibly in the past few years and irrespective of the fate of a film, all A-list actors walk away with a fat paycheck at the end of the day. The irony is, the one who dreams of a project [producer] may/may not make money, but the ones he hires [directors, music directors, actors et al], always do.

With RANG DE BASANTI arriving today [January 26], there was talk that the collections of FAMILY and ZINDA would escalate or remain steady for another week [January 20-26]. While FAMILY has proved a monumental disaster, ZINDA has also proved to be a losing proposition for its distributors.

The collections of ZINDA were in the range of 15% to 30% in its second weekend, which is not what a heavily-priced film should garner. As for the second weekend of FAMILY, there's not much to add. There's always a lull before the storm, so let's see if RANG DE BASANTI elevates the business [and the industry mood] in days to come.

[Weekend: January 21-23, 2005]

Subhash Ghai's latest outing, KISNA, proves a damp squib. What went wrong?

KISNA had nothing new to say. It came across as a frantic attempt to touch the hearts and souls of the Indian diaspora as well as catch international attention. Besides an incoherent script, which came to a screeching halt soon after it had a great start, the other area where the film faltered was is in its casting.

Vivek Oberoi worked well in films like COMPANY and also SAATHIYA because there was no conscious effort to play a super-hero. In KISNA, the role required him to portray a larger-than-life character and he did make an attempt to play one, but it misfired badly.

I've always felt that the media loves to hype certain stars even though the ground realities are different. And it had been proved yet again that Vivek cannot draw the audiences as a solo hero. Be it ROAD, SAATHIYA, DUM, KYUN! HO GAYA NA... and KISNA, every solo Vivek starrer has had a dull start at the ticket window. So expecting KISNA to open big or take-off on a historic note was really asking for too much. Despite Friday being a holiday [Idd], the opening day collections of the film were average to below average at most places.

The second release of the week, PAGE 3, a multiplex fare, was enjoying a good run at the multiplexes of metros.

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