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<i>Eklavya</i> verdict: The rise... and the fall!

By: Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM

Monday, February 26, 2007
Note the factors that went in favor of Eklavya - The Royal Guard, the third biggie of 2007:

  • A mammoth star cast, with a topnotch director at the helm of affairs.

  • The fantastic release period. Friday was a holiday [Maha Shivratri], Saturday and Sunday were holidays as well, Monday too was a holiday at places.

  • Post Salaam-E-Ishq, a number of realistic films hit the marquee -- Parzania, Traffic Signal, Black Friday and Undertrial. The moviegoers were waiting with bated breath for a big film and Eklavya - The Royal Guard was expected to come as a respite.

  • The brand Vinod Chopra Films had only got bigger and stronger after Munnabhai M.B.B.S., Parineeta and Lage Raho Munnabhai. Eklavya - The Royal Guard was expected to reap the benefits.

Eklavya - The Royal Guard won rave reviews from those who matter -- a fact Vidhu Vinod Chopra highlighted in a leading newspaper on Monday morning. Armed with so many aces, the film gathered momentum on Day 1 after a modest start. The opinions were divided. The classes were in favor. The masses weren't. The teenage crowd too found the theme serious, with no relief whatsoever. 

Eklavya - The Royal Guard had a shaky start on Day 2 [Saturday], primarily because of the cricket match. But, again, the evening shows were running to almost cent per cent occupancy. Sunday was fantastic again. But the cracks began to widen from Monday onwards.

On Monday, the business fell at most places and Tuesday and Wednesday offered no respite. The factor that goes in Eklavya - The Royal Guard's favor is that the first weekend has been glorious, with the distributors collecting a sizeable amount due to the initial frenzy. But is that enough? Eklavya - The Royal Guard is a big film by all counts and the business has to correspond with the heavy price tag that's associated with it.

What really went against the film was that the voices of the connoisseurs of cinema [who evidently liked the film] paled when compared to the verdict of the masses. Its serious theme and Hollywoodish presentation also curtailed its prospects. The business at some multiplexes is still decent, but the single screens are bad.

As things stand today, Eklavya - The Royal Guard is best in Mumbai and Delhi, while at other places, it ranges from average to below average to poor.


[Weekend: February 17-19, 2006]

The two important releases, Fight Club and Chingaari, both starring known names, had a shaky start at the ticket window. The fate of Chingaari was worse. The opening numbers ranged from 7%-8% in some shows to 15%-20% at places. The presence of Sushmita Sen didn't contribute to the initial curiosity. Neither did the masses patronize the film, nor did the elite [this segment of viewers patronizes Kalpana Lajmi movies] show any interest whatsoever.

Fight Club was a mini multi-starrer and everyone was hopeful that it would generate a 75% + start on Day 1, but the 25% + start caught everyone off guard. Even at single screens, where mindless action flicks fare better, Fight Club didn't generate figures that would make its investors euphoric.

The week also witnessed three more releases, Rafta Rafta - The Speed, Aisa Kyon HOta Hai? and The Myth.


[Weekend: February 18-20, 2005]

Two thrillers hit the marquee and both failed to thrill the cinegoers. Vikram Bhatt's Bobby-Lara starrer Jurm and Saurabh Shukla's Dino-Bipaha starrer Chehraa failed to elicit a decent response across the country.

Chehraa wasn't publicized aggressively and a section of the audience was unaware of its release, but Jurm was backed by an aggressive pre-release promotional campaign. Yet, the numbers were far from encouraging. Only goes to prove that no solo-hero starrer can really pull in the audience in hordes. And this is one bitter pill our actors ought to swallow.


[Weekend: February 13-15, 2004]

A few films make you feel exasperated, infuriated, frustrated and distressed. I felt numb after the screening of this film concluded. I was upset not only because the film failed to excite the viewer in me, but because the director seemed to have let go of a golden opportunity to enthrall the viewers. The film: Rudraksh.

Given the kind of money spent on the film by its lion-hearted producers [by way of assembling a prominent star cast, shelling out a packet for 75 minutes of special effects, by aggressively promoting the film in the print and television media], director Mani Shankar could've achieved so much more. At the box-office, this one was a big loser!

The other release of the week, I - Proud To be an Indian, didn't rejuvenate the hopes of the film industry either. One of the key factors that went against the film was its title. A few felt it was titled I, a few said its Indian, a few even went to the extent of calling it Proud Indian. And yes, a few weren't even aware that the film had released.

Another factor that went against the film was its violent theme. Agreed, the film depicts a harsh reality that exists in the West, but the audiences in India found the concept alien. Besides the [crude] violence depicted in the film made the family audiences stay away from theatres screening the film. 

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