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Diverse Fate Again

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By: Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Friday, July 8, 2005 witnessed the release of two films, Dus [directed by Anubhav Sinha] and Fareb [directed by Deepak Tijori]. While Dus took an earth-shattering start at the ticket window, Fareb, despite decent merits, proved a damp squib. The chartbusting track, 'Dus Bahane', besides the mammoth star cast of the film resulted in Dus making mincemeat of its opposition.

Friday, May 12, 2006 witnessed the release of two films, Tathastu [directed by Anubhav Sinha] and Tom Dick and Harry [directed by Deepak Tijori]. The two directors clashed yet again, but the results this time were a complete contrast. This time around, it was the popular Himesh Reshammiya track 'Jhoom Jhoom' that resulted in Tom Dick and Harry stealing the march over its opponent Tathastu.

Frankly speaking, Tathastu had an unsung release. A number of people I met weren't even aware that Tathastu had opened. The pre-release promotion was extremely low-key and the absence of songs only meant limited promotion for the film. Not that excessive promotion would've resulted in a terrific start for Tathastu. This desi adaptation of the Denzil Washington starrer John Q. lacked a powerful drama to keep the moviegoer glued to the proceedings. Even Anubhav Sinha's direction lacked a solid punch, so essential for a film that looks at a lone man's battle against the system.

Tathastu had a disastrous start everywhere. In fact, the shockingly low start [some shows were as low as 3%-6%] sent shock waves throughout the film industry. There's no denying that the opening numbers of Tathastu ranks amongst the poorest this year. The fate of the film was evident on its opening day itself.

The word of mouth wasn't positive as well. Almost all reviewers who matter also gave the film a thumbs down, while the paying public -- the few who sauntered into movieplexes to watch this human drama -- weren't kind to the film either, resulting in a poor turnout during the opening weekend as also on weekdays. To sum it up, this one's a supreme disaster!

Tom Dick and Harry took a favorable start [60% +] at places and maintained the momentum in its opening weekend. The popular track, 'Jhoom Jhoom', coupled with the fantastic pre-release promotion, resulted in this mini multi-starrer attracting footfalls at movieplexes. But the family audience that ventured to watch the film were completely taken aback by the double entendres and lewd jokes.

The advantage with Tom Dick and Harry is its reasonable pricing. The patronage from the hardcore masses and of course, 'Jhoom Jhoom', has resulted in the film keeping its worldwide distributor, Shree Ashtavinayak Cinevision, smiling. Its business is better in Mumbai, Delhi-U.P., Punjab and Rajasthan in particular.

THIS WEEK, LAST YEAR

[Week: May 13-15, 2005]

When a keenly anticipated film doesn't register a face-saving opening at the box-office, it sends shock waves throughout the industry. With lots of hopes pinned on the film in question, with the stakes being very high, the not-as-expected start can really puncture the morale of the film industry. That's precisely what happened when Jo Bole So Nihaal opened this week.

Prior to its theatrical release, Jo Bole So Nihaal was one of the hottest films in the marquee. The stylish promos of the film, coupled with the fact that the Rahul Rawail-Sunny Deol combo seemed rejuvenated to strike back with a vengeance, had led to the distributors acquiring its rights for fantastic prices. In fact, after a long, long time did one witness the distribution fraternity getting gung-ho about a film.

But the opening of the latest Sunny Deol starrer at several centres rang alarm bells across the film trade. Ideally, a film of this magnitude should've started with a bang, with a 90% + opening [like Lucky, Waqt, Kaal], but its opening ranged from 70% +, to a dismal 25%-35% at some places.

Clearly, something went wrong somewhere. Or, perhaps, the viewers had satiated themselves with the three biggies [Lucky, Waqt, Kaal] in three consecutive weeks and felt like taking a break for a week or two. With biggies flowing in week after week and in view of the fact that the ticket prices are quite exorbitant by Indian standards, the moviegoer today opts for films that he/she may consider 'hot', skipping some films in the process.

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