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By: Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM
Friday, September 22, 2006
In the 1970s and 1980s, when television hadn't made inroads in India, feature films were the prime source of entertainment for most Indians. In those days, three/four/five films would open week after week and a good number would fare well at ticket counters. Of course, the practice of releasing films simultaneously across all circuits never existed then. Piracy too didn't exist, till video came to India.
But the scenario has changed over the years. Round-the-clock entertainment on television, rampant piracy of films and exorbitant ticket rates at movieplexes are impediments if a film carries negative reports. Also, with multiple films every week, it's truly the survival of the fittest.
The four medium-budget films [Shiva, Pyaar Ke Side/Effects, Bas Ek Pal and Kachchi Sadak] that opened on Friday faced dual oppositions -- the ongoing cricket matches and of course, from each other. The business was clearly divided. Shiva had an edge at single screens at some centres, while Pyaar Ke Side/Effects had a decent start at multiplexes. In fact, the opening day numbers of all films, barring Pyaar Ke Side/Effects, were below par.
Have you noticed, the trend has tilted towards big-budget films with solid content this year? In fact, a number of medium-budget films, with a novel story to tell, have found few takers at the box-office. The volume of business has increased by leaps and bounds, but for big-budget films only.
Back to the current releases! Pyaar Ke Side/Effects had an average plus weekend at multiplexes, thereby ensuring a recovery of its investment. The urban theme has gone down well with the audiences and the film should also fetch its producers [P.N.C.] substantial revenue from non-theatrical rights.
On the other hand, Shiva hasn't found acceptance from the paying public. In fact, RGV has not tasted success for a while now, although people were hopeful that Shiva would do the trick since the accomplished storyteller is seated in the director's chair this time. As for Bas Ek Pal, it cut a sorry picture everywhere. Even the popular track 'Tere Bin' couldn't save this venture from sinking.
THIS WEEK IN 2005
[Weekend: September 16-18, 2005]
The Friday gone by witnessed the release of four prominent films, all directed by first-timers: Chocolate [Vivek Agnihotri], James [Rohit Jugraj], Kal - Yesterday&Tomorrow [Ruchi Narain] and Sau Jhooth Ek Sach - The Uninvited [Bappaditya Roy]. But one more commonality surfaced on their opening day: All proved non-starters at the box-office.
Not much was expected from Kal - Yesterday&Tomorrow and Sau Jhooth Ek Sach - The Uninvited anyways, so their poor show at the turnstiles didn't really come as a surprise. But the non-performance or let's say the dismal opening of Chocolate and James did come as a jolt. Both Chocolate and James were supported by a strong publicity blitzkrieg, but the near-empty halls that greeted the two films came as a complete shocker.
THIS WEEK IN 2004
[Weekend: September 17-19, 2004]
After Phir Milenge, Rakht, Hum Kaun Hai? and Dil Ne Jise Apna Kahaa [all opened to an alarmingly low response], Ek Se Badhkar Ek followed a similar pattern throughout the country. Its opening ranged between 10% and 20% at certain cinema halls across the nation.
Despite being sold at throwaway prices, this comedy only proved to be a tragedy for its distributors!