Friday, August 10, 2007
At the wedding anniversary of a leading financier, the conversation veered towards the varied themes that are being witnessed on the Hindi screen of late. Irrespective of how these films fare at the ticket window, you cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that most storytellers are at least making an effort to offer something different to moviegoers.
Let's take a quick look at the kind of cinema we've witnessed in the recent past. Apne was a family film [literally], Awarapan highlighted a love story, Naqaab was a suspense thriller, Partner tickled your funny bone, Cash presented the chor-police chase and Gandhi My Father depicted reality.
In fact, when the release of Cash was shifted by one week, coinciding with Gandhi My Father, the film industry wasn't worried. Reason being, the two films were diverse in content and would, therefore, attract different patrons. But the Friday numbers came as a jolt.
Let's talk about Cash first. A section of the industry was of the opinion that the film would open with a bang, like Partner or Anubhav Sinha's previous outing DUS. But the not-as-expected start did catch people by surprise [ideally, the multi-starrer should've garnered a 90% + start]. In certain circuits, the opening numbers were approx. 40% - 50% - 60%, while in Punjab, the collections came sliding downwards on Day 1 itself.
What went against this much-hyped multi-starrer were the negative reports. The film was high on hype, but low on substance and the cracks started appearing for this reason. The film fell on Saturday at several places, while Sunday was better. Monday onwards, Cash is on a downward spree, as collections continue to fall rapidly.
What also goes against the film is the price tag attached to it. Adlabs bought the film for a handsome price and in turn sold it for fancy prices to various distributors. As things stand today, the film is sure to make a hole in the pockets of its buyers. In fact, the Head of Distribution of Studio 18, one of the prominent distributors of Cash, has gone on record [on my TV show] to state that they would lose 30% of their investment in Cash.
The fate of Gandhi My Father came as a shocker. A good film and a good run at the box-office are two different issues. Gandhi My Father is a well-made product and I strongly feel that it needs to be nominated for the Oscars.
Surprisingly, even though the audience feedback was tremendous, the numbers of Gandhi My Father refused to multiply. With a shockingly low start on Friday, the film did show a slight increase on Saturday and Sunday at select multiplexes, but the overall scenario continues to be disheartening.
Anil Kapoor, the enterprising producer of Gandhi My Father, has gone on record [on my TV show again] that the film would gather momentum from its second week onwards. But there's Chak De India and Kaafila to compete with. Also, with Partner still faring well, it's going to be a tough journey for Gandhi My Father.
The third release, Naya Daur, was also greeted by equally unenthusiastic crowds. A section of the film industry attributes the poor start to the low-key promotion [unlike Mughal-E-Azam, which was heavily promoted]. A few feel that the theme of the film is irrelevant in today's times.
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