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<i>KANK</i> performs better in foreign market

Friday, August 18, 2006 

New Delhi (UNI): The audience in India may have given a divided response to his tale of marital infidelity but Karan Johar's Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna has received an astounding ''thumbs up'' from the audience, overseas. Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, Karan Johar's take on marriage and relationships, has garnered an excellent opening in the United Kingdom, considered the biggest market for Bollywood films overseas, and the United States. Infact, the film's collections in UK were much higher than even the superhero film Krrish. The film, released in the United Kingdom on August 11, figured at number six in the UK top ten, grossing a phenomenal 749,243 UK pounds from just 60 cinema screens in its opening weekend, which is more than three times the opening taken by the superhit Krrish, which had earned 210,499 UK pounds in its opening weekend. Further, it had the highest per screen average of 12,487 UK pounds, ahead of such Hollywood films like Pirates of the Carribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Cars, Monsters house and Superman Returns.

However, the per screen average earned by Kabhi Alvida na Kehna in its opening week is the highest netted by a Bollywood film in UK in recent years. In the United States too, the film has netted 1.2 million US Dollars (about Rs 6 crore). Trade sources said though the good showing of the film in the United Kingdom and the United States was expected, given the huge draw commanded by Shahrukh Khan in the overseas markets, specially UK, the opening has been extraordinary even for a Shahrukh Khan or a Karan Johar film. The film, which deals with the sensitive subject of marital infidelity, has however, met with a ''lukewarm to poor'' response in Nepal. Though the film evoked an excellent response on the opening day in theatres in Nepal, the collections saw a sudden drop in the subsequent days. Alarmed by the dropping collections, owners of many theatres decided to pull out the film from the cinema halls from Monday onwards.

The lukewarm response to the film in Nepal notwithstanding, trade analysts feel that Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna could well break all records of Indian films abroad. It could far surpass collections of the earlier directorial ventures by Karan Johar - Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. Analysts attribute the stupendous response to the film to its celebrated star cast, the huge popularity of the film's music as well as the film's novel storyline. The fact that the film has an ensemble cast comprising Shahrukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Rani Mukherjee and Preity Zinta has contributed in part to the huge crowds thronging the theatres. Another factor contributing to the film's draw is the huge popularity of the film's music, including the 'chart toppers' like Mitwa, 'Where's the Party Tonight' and 'Rock and Roll Soniye'. The song 'where's the party tonight' picturised on Abhishek Bachchan and Preity Zinta in the film, as also the 'Rock and Roll Soniye' song picturised on Amitabh, Abhishek and Preity, are a huge rage among all sections, specially the youth and the children. Further, the sensitive nature of the subject dealt with by the film has also drawn the audiences overseas to the theatres in huge numbers. Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna is perhaps the first directorial venture by Karan Johar that has come in for profuse praise from critics circles for Karan's mature and sensitive handling of a subject like marital infedility.

Meanwhile, in India Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna has elicited a mixed response from the audience. While collections at multiplexes have been at an all time high, the opening taken by the film in small screen theatres was a little below the mark, trade sources said. Tickets were sold out well in advance at multiplexes. The huge rush was despite the fact that the film is being screened at several multiplexes in 14-15 shows per day. Among other centres, while the film saw record openings in small centres like Nagpur, Jabalpur, Indore and Bhopal, the business at many areas in central India was was far less compared to those in cities.

So, while in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Bangalore and Indore, the film opened at 100 per cent in its first weekend, it opened to 91 per cent collections in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh. However, considering that Kabhi Alvida na Kehna has had the advantage of an extended weekend, trade sources feel it could, in the long run, prove to be a profitable proposition even in small centres.

Notwithstanding the variance in audience response from multiplexes and single screen cinemas, overall collections of Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna during the opening weekend indicate that Karan Johar's latest directorial venture, released with a record 1,000 prints worldwide, is well on its way to being the next superhit of the year. Analysts believe that given Karan johar's deft handling of a subject like marital infidelity, the film is likely to have a historic run in the overseas territories. In Mumbai alone, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, released with 157 prints, collected Rs 76 lakh on the first day of its release. Analysts say the film is expected to make Rs 60 crore in the first week itself.

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