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Box Office is back on fire

Monday, July 10, 2006
New Delhi (UNI): The first half of the year has been an exceptional one for the film industry with three superhits in a row in the last one month alone in Fanaa, Phir Hera Pheri and Krrish, a rarity in the recent history of Bollywood. The three big hits in the last five weeks, coupled with hits like Rang De Basanti, Malamaal Weekly and Gangster and several above average grosser like 36 China Town, Taxi No 9211, Tom Dick and Harry and Chup Chup Ke in the past five months, makes it an excellent first half of the year for Bollywood in terms of box office collections, in fact one of the best in recent times.

The stupendous box office response to Kunal Kohli's Fanaa, which has grossed over Rs 90 crore since its release on May 26, Neeraj Vora's Phir Hera Pheri, which has already grossed nearly Rs 30 crore in two weeks since its release, and Rakesh Roshan's Krrish, which has earned a whopping Rs 69 crore in its opening week itself has rejuvenated the spirits of the film industry which had, till only a month ago, been witnessing a gloomy scenario with a majority of films before Fanaa, Phir Hera Pheri and Krrish getting a lukewarm response from the cinegoers. ''The first half has been exceptionally good, particularly the last few weeks which have witnessed Fanaa, Phir Hera Pheri and Krrish wowing audiences in a big way, breaking all previous box office records'' film analyst Komal Nahata said.

Trade analysts say three hits in a month [Fanaa released on May 26 while Phir Hera Pheri opened two weeks later on June 9 and Krrish on June 23] is a rarity in the recent history of the film industry. ''But for these three hits, the first six months would not have presented such a rosy picture,''Nahata said. What is specially heartening for the film industry is the fact that after a long time, audiences are turning out in large numbers to the cinema halls which is evident from Fanaa, Phir Hera Pheri and Krrish drawing either full houses or near full houses not only in their opening weekends but also subsequent weeks.

Even four weeks after its release, Fanaa, starring Aamir Khan and Kajol, continues to rock the box office and break box office records. Similar is the case with Phir Hera Pheri, the sequel to the successful Hera Pheri. The comedy, now in its fourth week, continues to draw huge crowds of cinegoers. Another unique feature of the success of these films is that they have been drawing full houses in both single screen halls as well as multiplexes, something that has been quite rare in recent years with films either doing well in multiplexes or single screen halls.

Analysts say that the recent theory of "multiplexes are where the business is today" was disaproved by Fanaa which did exceptionally well largely due to its good showing in single screen cinemas. For example, the film earned nearly Rs 2 crore in West Bengal, solely due to its collections at the single screen cinemas.

In fact, trade analysts say the success of Krrish gave a new lease of life to cinemas in small centres of the country as for the first time in so many years collections for the superhero film at these centres hit the ceiling. Also remarkable was the fact that both Fanaa and Krrish saw a huge rush for advance bookings with tickets being booked at least a week to ten days in advance in the case of Krrish. In fact, it has been the first time in recent years that a Bollywood film has witnessed such a huge rush for advance bookings.

At a time when the film industry was fervently praying for hits, the super success of the three films has rejuvenated the spirits and revived an ailing industry, analysts say. That good times are back for the film industry is evident from the fact that the combined gross of the three films alone till the end of the first half of the year comes to nearly Rs 200 crore. And, with "much-in-the-news" films like Karan Johar's Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, Rajkumar Hirani's Lage Raho Munnabhai, Farhan Akhtar's Don, Sanjay Gadvi's Dhoom 2, Sajid Nadiadwala's Jaaneman, J P Dutta's Umrao Jaan and Ravi Chopra's Babul to follow in the coming months, 2006 may well be the best year for Bollywood in a long time as far as box office earnings go.

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