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Tally of flops rises!

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By: Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fridays are hectic. Box-office collections keeping pouring in from early morning till midnight. The topic of conversation oscillates from the reports of films that have opened a few hours ago, to the occupancy at movieplexes, to the general feedback/response to the previous releases...

The Friday gone by was no different!

Its common knowledge that the pre-Diwali weeks coupled with the holy month of Ramadan make a big dent in film business. With all eyes on the Diwali/Idd releases [Don, Jaan-E-Mann], every other film in the orbit is bound to get eclipsed. But that didn't deter six producers to release their films this Friday: Zindaggi Rocks, Mera Dil Leke Dekkho, Jaana - Let's Fall in Love, Iqraar By Chance, Bhoot Unkle and Gafla.

Not surprisingly, the six new releases met with a similar fate: Rejection!

But what did come as a rude shock were the opening day numbers, which were horrifyingly poor. The collections were not in lacs or thousands, but hundreds in some shows. In fact, when I called a leading multiplex on Friday evening to crosscheck the occupancy, I was told that the shows of two new films had to be called off due to lack of audience, while the remaining films were being screened with 5%-8% occupancy. A similar trend was being witnessed at other centres where those films opened.

What does one attribute the disastrous start to? One of the prime reasons for the slump is the low-key pre-release promotion. In certain cases, the films came virtually unannounced. In such a scenario, how do you expect the moviegoers to throng the movieplexes?

Putting up a few posters and hoardings in Mumbai and Delhi at the last minute doesn't help. Making a film with passion is important, but ensuring that it gets a respectable release is equally important. I am not trying to imply that aggressive promotion is the key to success. But general awareness is important.

Another reason -- a vital reason in this case -- was the lack of solid content. Zindaggi Rocks lacked soul, Mera Dil Leke Dekkho tried too hard to be funny, Jaana - Let's Fall in Love is outdated cinema, Iqraar By Chance is archaic as well, Bhoot Unkle is good intentions gone awry and Gafla isn't everyone's idea of entertainment. So why blame the moviegoers from staying away from theatres?

Sure, the business has touched the ebb and the tally of flops only got bigger this week. But let's not lose hope. Let's pray that the Festival of Lights spreads light in this gloomy scenario!

THIS WEEK IN 2005

[Weekend: October 7-9, 2005]

I am not surprised at the cold response meted out to Main, Meri Patni Aur Woh. The film was barely promoted prior to its release and came literally unannounced. If that wasn't enough, its release was timed during Ramzan and Navratri.

Main, Meri Patni Aur Woh is targeted at multiplexes and its release should've been backed by a two-month promotion at least. Ideally, UTV should've timed its release during the Diwali week -- its promotion would've been optimum by then and also, with the paying public thronging movieplexes in large numbers, the collections would've been much better.

A film like Main, Meri Patni Aur Woh would've co-existed with any of the Diwali biggies, since it's not the type that would cut into any film's business. On the contrary, there would've been a strong possibility of Main, Meri Patni Aur Woh getting the surplus crowds if the tickets for a biggie were unavailable.

THIS WEEK IN 2004

[Weekend: October 8-10, 2004]

Although Bride And Prejudice met with mixed reactions from the British press, that didn't deter moviegoers from thronging the cinema halls in large numbers. Going by the opening weekend collections of Gurinder Chadha's latest film, the U.K. audiences embraced and welcomed the 'Bride' with love and affection.

In India, as expected, the English version of the film fared better than the Hindi version. Although the Hindi version did fetch a better opening than the two Hindi openers, Shukriya and Wajahh, one definitely expected BALLE BALLE [the dubbed version of Bride And Prejudice] to open much better.

The weekend was less kind to the other two Hindi films, Shukriya and Wajahh; both having met with a cold response from moviegoers.

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