There has always been a general feeling within and outside the industry that controversies and promotional gimmicks always add up to boost box-office collections. There is also a strong feeling that most of the controversies in the film industry are not for real but are rather created by producers for obvious reasons.
But the present cases of Kurbaan this week and of Tum Mile released last week should conclusively indicate how these feelings don"t seem true anymore.Karan Johar produced Kurbaan had been in the thick of controversies since the last few days before its release. It was the Shiv Sena first who threatened to stall the film"s screening because of its 'obscene" posters showing Kareena Kapoor"s bare back. Also, somebody dragged the film to court and sought a ban on it as he felt it would hurt Islamic religious sentiments. But both these seem to have hardly had any impact on the box-office because Kurbaan did not open too well this week.
In fact, considering that the film is produced by Karan Johar, is extremely well-promoted, has lovely music and stars real-life love birds Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor, it should have opened to a thunderous response. But the initial at many places on Friday was lack-luster. In fact even the paid previews of the film on Thursday didn"t draw the desired crowds in many cities. No doubt, collections in some major cities on Thursday and Friday were impressive but the opening was disappointing in many other cities. This goes on to prove that the controversies around Kurbaan did not come to its rescue in ensuring an enviable opening to the film.
The case of Mahesh Bhatt"s Tum Mile is different but the point that a controversy is not necessarily conducive to the box-office is proven here as well. After Mahesh Bhatt"s son Rahul Bhatt"s name figured in alleged terrorist Headley"s case, some outfits in Gujarat disrupted shows of Tum Mile (which was released only a week back) and even forced exhibitors to pull out the film from their cinemas. In spite of television channels beaming the news about shows of Tum Mile being disrupted and cancelled, its collections just did not pick up in places where there were no untoward incidents.
All of which goes to prove that the days of controversies fuelling bigger tickets sales is becoming passe in Bollywood now.