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One Big Surprise!

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    By: Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM

    Friday, March 17, 2006

    Last month it was Aksar. This month it's Malamaal Weekly. Two medium-budget films that took a pleasant start at the ticket window, taking the film trade by complete surprise. Priyadarshan's latest laughathon was definitely the weekend's top viewed movie, replacing Taxi No. 9211 [it held the position for two consecutive weeks] at the Top 5 charts.

    The expectations from Malamaal Weekly weren't high, thanks to the absence of a big league hero in the cast. Priyan's last two films, Garam Masala [Akshay, John] and Kyon Ki... [Salman], starred the hot-n-happening stars, but Malamaal Weekly relied more on characters [Paresh Rawal, Om Puri, Asrani, Rajpal Yadav] to attract footfalls at movieplexes. And the gamble paid off, with the film fetching a positive start at multiplexes [50% to 65% +], though it wasn't as strong in certain sectors.

    What goes in favor of Malamaal Weekly is the fact that the paying public has been thirsting for a good entertainer since the past few weeks. Barring Aksar and Taxi No. 9211, a number of prominent films released from February to date [Mere Jeevan Saathi, Holiday, Fight Club - Members Only, Chingaari, Humko Tumse Pyaar Hai, Teesri Aankh - The Hidden Camera] lacked the stamina to stand on their feet.

    Since the past few years, Priyadarshan-directed movies command a solid following and Malamaal Weekly only cements the Priyan-Paresh pairing further. Despite not-too-aggressive promotion and released during the cricket matches and examinations, the film should have a decent run at multiplexes in its second weekend as well since the biggies will arrive only in April.

    There weren't expectations from the other openers, Jigyaasa and MR. 100% - The Real Player, in view of the fact that the pre-release buzz was missing. Therefore, the flaccid opening didn't come as a surprise. While Jigyaasa made an attempt to portray the inside view of Bollywood, MR. 100% - The Real Player portrayed the life of a gigolo and his sexual encounters. The similarity was the generous dose of skin show, but even that failed to lure their target audience.

    THIS WEEK, LAST YEAR

    [Weekend: March 11-13, 2005]

    While watching the John Abraham - Priyanka Chopra starrer Karam, what caught my attention was the way debutante director Sanjay F. Gupta had filmed a couple of sequences. But Karam suffered in that one department that is the lifeline of all films -- the script. And the best of efforts go unnoticed if the screenplay is not cohesive enough.

    Karam had a lukewarm start at most places. And with the passage of days, the collections continued to dwindle. The failure of Karam should serve as an eye-opener to all those debutantes who give more emphasis to technique than content. Let's not forget that the viewer wants to listen to a story at the end of the day!

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