Vishal Bhardwaj's films may not be money spinners, but they are high on content as is his Priyanka Chopra starrer 7 Khoon Maaf that has a different story to tell. The film has not only garnered good reviews but has so far earned Rs.28 crore from its opening week box office collections and satellite and other rights.
The dark thriller about an incorrigible serial spouse-killer cost Rs.22 crore, which includes the money spent on publicity and advertising.
Released with 786 prints, its opening weekend collection was Rs.13 crore. Overseas collections accounted for Rs.2 crore, the music and satellite rights fetched Rs.11 crore and home video and other sources brought in Rs.2 crore.
"'7 Khoon Maaf' has worked well for us commercially due to a combination of tight production budgeting, optimised spending on prints and publicity and a pre-sales strategy that helped us to de-risk the film via sales of home video, music, satellite and theatrical rights even before the release," Siddharth Roy Kapur, CEO, Motion Pictures UTV, told IANS.
7 Khoon Maaf is based on Ruskin Bond's Susanne's Seven Husbands and tracks the story of a beautiful young girl, Susanna Anna-Marie Johannes (Priyanka), who ends up tying the knot seven times following the untimely and mysterious deaths of her hapless husbands. In the film, Priyanka's character ages from 20 to 65 years.
"The response to the film was good at the weekend with 78 per cent occupancy, although it dropped to 40 per cent on Monday," said Amit Awasthi, senior manager (Programming and Operations) Spice Cinemas.
"The first half of the film is interesting but in the second half it becomes slow. Priyanka's acting is being really appreciated by one and all," he added.
The film has garnered good reviews and critics are raving about Bhardwaj's directorial skills and Priyanka's acting prowess.
One reviewer wrote: "Bhardwaj's reveals himself yet again as that rare Renaissance man in an art form that deserves more." Another said: "This is Bhardwaj's most fluidly-narrated film to date."
Appreciating Priyanka's work, one critic said: "Priyanka, not for the first time, proves she is leagues ahead of all competition." Another wrote: "For Priyanka Chopra, who plays the Anglo-Indian protagonist, this is unquestionably a role of a lifetime. She has you by the eyeballs."
Yogesh Raizada, corporate head (Cinemas) of Wave Cinemas said every actor in the film had given of their best.
"Priyanka is excellent in the film, Irrfan Khan and Annu Kapoor are known for their acting prowess, John (Abraham) has right stature in the film. All in all, everyone has acted well in the film. Since it's a dark film, family audiences are lower. The occupancy was 60-70 percent over the weekend," he said.
Ritika Sharma, a media professional, was all praise for Priyanka's acting.
"Although the film is a bit slow, Priyanka Chopra takes the cake. She is superb in the film," she said.
Said Ankita Malhotra, who works with a telecom company: "Priyanka carries the film on her shoulders."
Multiplex audiences are appreciating the film, but single screen audiences are not showing much enthusiasm.
"Multiplex audiences are liking the film but the single screen audiences are just average, mainly because family audiences are lower. With comedy film Tanu Weds Manu releasing on Friday, the film is definitely going to take a hit," said a source from PVR.