Is it the World Cup effect? Or should the disappointing theatrical business of 7 Khoon Maaf be attributed to its erratic writing? In my opinion, it's a mix of both. Thoda cricket mania, thoda demerits. There was tremendous curiosity to watch 7 Khoon Maaf prior to its release. Plus, the credibility that Vishal Bhardwaj has built over the years ensured that a good chunk of movie-going audience would make a beeline to theatres to watch his latest creation on celluloid. A catchy title, a quirky plotline, novel promotional strategies that caught one's attention and of course, the popularity of 'Darling'… 7 Khoon Maaf had several factors going in its favor. But box-office is most unpredictable, isn't it?
If Patiala House sent shock waves last Friday thanks to its low occupancy, the sad opening numbers of 7 Khoon Maaf, another biggie helmed by a reputed director, brought grief to the industry. The initial reactions ranged from shock to disbelief, since the occupancy was at par, at places even lower, than last week's Patiala House. It seemed like the audience had already made up its mind to skip the film, even before the word of mouth was out. A leading North India distributor had, in fact, told me before its release that the film will enjoy limited patronage in his circuit because the mindset is still traditional and the womenfolk wouldn't really fancy a theme that depicted a woman marrying multiple times… and killing the husbands as well.
One expected the multiplex junta to react far more positively, patronize the film in good numbers, but barring a handful of plexes, where the film drew decent audiences, the response at the plexes in general was equally disheartening. After a weak start on Friday, the business picked up marginally on Saturday, while Sunday showed some good improvement. But the business slipped considerably on Monday and Tuesday.
Now let's discuss the economics! UTV has sold a few territories, while the corporate house is distributing the film in the balance territories itself. However, given the texture of the film, the recovery from India theatrical and Overseas wouldn't be much. The film will have to rely on Satellite and Music Rights [combined price: 11] to recover the investment. But the recovery seems remote and the losses are guaranteed.
The remaining two releases, Kaccha Limboo and Masti Express, grossed negligible figures.