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      Akshay Kumar's eroded brand value

      'Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap'... In simpler terms it means, as you sow so shall you reap. The bitter truth is that Akshay Kumar's last few films have eroded his brand value and that, I genuinely feel, affected the box-office prospects of Patiala House to an extent. Riding high after Namastey London, Hey Babyy, Bhool Bhulaiyaa, Welcome and Singh Is Kinng, five Hits in a row [except Tashan, which was released before S.I.K.], Akshay was running neck to neck with SRK at that point of time. But Akshay slipped from his position post Singh Is Kinng, delivering one flop after another. Hits and flops are part of the game, I agree, but it's his choice of films that has gone against him, when one reflects on his body of work.

      Patiala House is a good product and deserved a better fate. Of course, the word of mouth is extremely positive and the business also showed an escalation with each passing day, but the fact remains that it has under-performed in India. Ideally, the film should have netted at least Rs. 20 cr in its opening weekend, but the figure it has posted [Rs. 15.25 cr nett] only goes to prove that Akshay's fan base has eroded over a period of time.

      Patiala House suffered for one more reason. Like I pointed out in the review of the film, ideally, there ought to be at least six months' gap between two films of a major star, while Patiala House is Akshay's fourth release in six months [Khatta Maatha - 23 July, Action Replayy - 5 November, Tees Maar Khan - 24 December, Patiala House - 11 February]. Besides, a lot many people I know weren't too keen on watching Patiala House because they felt that this was yet another mindless entertainer from the actor who enjoyed a virtual monopoly of working in mindless laughathons. He may/may not have realized it, but Akshay had got appallingly typecast and Patiala House bore the brunt of it.

      Strangely, whenever Akshay has acted in serious films that emphasize on drama, like Dhadkan, Ek Rishtaa, Aitraaz and Waqt in particular, the audience has embraced him and his films warmly. Of course, family dramas do take time to grow at the box-office and that also explains the below-the-mark start of Patiala House. A section of the industry also feels that Patiala House lacked Hit music, which comes as a surprise since the film is produced by a music company.

      Now let's discuss its economics. The total cost of Patiala House stands at Rs. 45 cr [includes Rs 9 cr incurred on P & A]. The producers have already recovered their investment by selling India theatrical rights [Rs. 23 cr], Overseas [Rs. 7 cr], Satellite [Rs. 15 cr] and Music + Home Video combined [Rs. 4.5 cr]. The onus falls on the distributors, who acquired the film at reasonable prices. The film has to sustain on weekdays and also in its second weekend, so that the respective distributors can recover their investment.

      Patiala House is akin to a fresh start for Akshay. It is amongst Akshay's finest works and if the actor continues to pick and choose his films diligently, instead of working in same genres, he would once again claim the title of 'Darling of the Masses'. There's a lesson to be learnt!

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