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Heart-Breaking!

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By: Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
How times change!

A few years ago, prominent distributor Tolu Bajaj decided to launch his son Sachin as a director. Obviously, he wanted nothing but the best for Sachin, who was taking his first big step in life. Keeping in mind the script of the film, the Bajajs signed Sunny Deol and Vivek Oberoi to head the cast of Naksha. It was a casting coup as the two actors were sharing the screen space for the first time.

Film industry mein har Shukravar kundli badalti hai [fortunes change every Friday]. Boney Kapoor's Kyun! Ho Gaya Na... opened to a dismal response, followed by Subhash Ghai's Kisna [disaster] and Sahara-Percept's Home Delivery [washout] and Vivek's career came crashing down. In between, Rahul Rawail's keenly-anticipated Jo Bole So Nihaal, starring Sunny, proved a damp squib at the box-office.

The Sunny-Vivek combo, considered a hot proposition at a point of time, turned ice-cold overnight. Naksha released at a time when both Sunny and Vivek are going through the worst phase in their career and that made a dent in the opening of the film.

The results of Naksha were crystal clear on Day 1 [Friday] itself. While the single screens in North India [Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab] as well as parts of Madhya Pradesh [Indore], gave its mandate [80% +], the multiplexes everywhere were extremely poor [10%]. Naksha is a desi film that's targeted at the masses and the film was expected to behave accordingly. Also, Sunny's popularity is huge in North, not as much in Mumbai, so if the North circuits open better than West, it comes as no surprise.

Naksha slipped at single screens on Friday evening itself, but that was because of Shab-e-Barat, the auspicious day for Muslims. On Saturday and Sunday, the single screens performed well, but multiplexes continued to be poor. Monday and Tuesday were no different.

A section of the industry feels the shraddh period affected the business, while some feel that the promotion wasn't too solid. A few also feel that the Lage Raho Munnabhai wave was a major deterrent for Naksha, while some opine that the actors' [Sunny, Vivek] bad luck rubbed on this film. All said and done, Naksha might recover its cost in North, but will lose money in some circuits, mainly Mumbai.


The second release, Dil Diya Hai, was looked forward to by the industry for several reasons...

  • One, the Aashiq Banaya Aapne combo of producer Bala Bhai, director Aaditya Datt and actor Emraan Hashmi had joined hands again. With Aashiq Banaya Aapne doing decent business, Dil Diya Hai was expected to tread a similar path.
  • Two, Himesh Reshammiya's musical score, in the past, had contributed to the opening of the film. In fact, films like Aashiq Banaya Aapne as well as Aksar and Tom Dick And Harry [this year] benefited enormously due to Himesh's music.

But audience ne dil nahin diya. Dil Diya Hai was a non-starter from the word 'Go'. Aimed at the youth/multiplex crowd, there were no takers for this film even at multiplexes. In fact, the business at most multiplexes was so low [less than 10% in some shows] that the multiplex managements were alarmed by two 'calamities' [Naksha, Dil Diya Hai] in one week.


THIS WEEK IN 2005
[Weekend: September 9-11, 2005]


One production house that has been having a dream run at the turnstiles is Yash Raj Films. Salaam Namaste had an excellent start [85% to 90% +] at multiplexes of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Jaipur, South, but at several centres, the opening day collections ranged between 30% and 60%.

The business of Salaam Namaste was clearly divided in its opening weekend. While the multiplexes performed 8 to 10 to 12 shows every day with 95% + occupancy, the business at single screens at some centres wasn't too strong. However, the first week billing was excellent, the ordinary business at some centres notwithstanding.

For Yash Raj, the strategy of releasing the film with multiple prints in multiple shows worldwide and extracting the maximum in the first week itself had paid off yet again.


THIS WEEK IN 2004
[Weekend: September 10-12, 2004]


After two successes in rapid succession, GARV [semi-hit] and Mujhse Shaadi Karogi [hit], Salman Khan delivered two box-office duds one after the other -- Phir Milenge and Dil Ne Jise Apna Kahaa.

The uninterrupted run of a great show at the box-office [Tere Naam, Baghban, Garv, Mujhse Shaadi Karogi] had unfortunately been cut short with the failure of first Phir Milenge earlier and Dil Ne Jise Apna Kahaa this weekend. Goes to prove [yet again] that it's not the star alone, but the project in totality that works! 

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