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Bheja Fry rules the domestic B.O

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By: Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM
Friday, April 20, 2007

Let's start the 'Biz Talk' column with an interesting anecdote!

There are instances of big films -- starring big names, helmed by equally big entities and released with big hype -- failing to attract a big initial, while a small film, released in the same week, wins the race. The one example I always quote is that of the biggie Lamhe and the unknown Phool Aur Kaante releasing on the same Friday. While Lamhe failed at the ticket window, the unknown Phool Aur Kaante, starring an unknown lead pair [Ajay Devgan, Madhoo], unknown producer [Dinesh Patel] and an equally unknown director [Kuku Kohli], proved the dark horse.

Phool Aur Kaante was unknown till the day of its release, but after the conclusion of its first show on Friday, it was the most talked-about film of its times.

Something similar happened this Friday. The industry had set their eyes on two films [Big Brother and Life Mein Kabhie KabhieE], but it was the third film [Bheja Fry] that stole the march.

Both Big Brother and Life Mein Kabhie KabhieE were extremely clear about their target audience in their promotion. The promos of Big Brother were designed for moviegoers who prefer raw action, while Life Mein Kabhie KabhieE was more for the urban viewer. The promotion of Bheja Fry gathered momentum a few days prior to its release and one look at its likable promos and you knew that this one was for the multiplexes.

The release strategy adopted by the distributors of the three films was flawless. In fact, the distributors were in no mood to flood the market with as many prints as possible, but open their films at outlets that matched the genre of the film. Big Brother was released at single screens mainly [very, very few multiplexes], while Life Mein Kabhie KabhieE and Bheja Fry obviously chose multiplexes.

Big Brother had a better start [50%] in North [expected]. Action films have an edge in the Northern territories [Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab] and if Sunny Deol heads the cast, it's sone pe suhaaga most of the times. But the absence of a captivating script proved a major obstacle for this film. Aren't violence-laden films pass In this case, the stunts weren't executed stylishly, but were crude and raw. I wish I had carried my ear-plugs to dilute all that noise that this movie had to offer.

Big Brother stumbled as days progressed and with Sunny in an action role as its 'USP', the film fared somewhat better in some pockets of North. Elsewhere, this misadventure got what it deserved.

Life Mein Kabhie KabhieE was a non-starter from the word 'Go'. It isn't a bad movie-going experience; in fact, it ranks amongst Vikram Bhatt's better films. But the problem, as I see it, is the absence of names that would draw the audiences to theatres. A prominent multiplex owner agreed with my viewpoint, besides blaming the thanda title for the poor response.

Starting on a slow note [15%-20%] everywhere, the business refused to pick up as days progressed. Let's get one thing straight: If the collections don't pick up on Saturday and Sunday, expecting a miraculous leap on Monday is foolhardy. It rarely happens these days. It's indeed sad that Life Mein Kabhie KabhieE didn't work. It definitely deserved a better fate.

Now to the surprise! Bheja Fry isn't your routine commercial film. It's more of an experiment that stresses on humor. But the collections showed a slight increase on Friday night, were much better on Saturday [50% +], while Sunday was better than Saturday at most screens. Mumbai and Delhi multiplexes performed the best, but what's surprising is that even at a centre like Indore, where multiplexes films don't have a large market, the film has shown an upward trend in collections.

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