The year has come to a close and it’s time to salute the winners of the box-office battle. But instead of crowning the highest grosser, we’ve selected movies that earned well in multiples of the money invested in them. In the trade world, everyone from analysts and theatre owners to head honchos of multiplexes and distributors had a unanimous answer — in terms of return on investment, the number one film of 2010 is Dabangg, which made `140 crore.
Komal Nahta, editor of Film Information, asserts, "Dabangg is the highest earner of the year. Not only did it do phenomenally at the box-office, it also fetched a great price for the satellite rights. The music too continued to do well long after the film’s release."
One reason why Dabangg was made at a reasonable cost is that there’s nothing big in the movie except for Salman Khan. According to Sanjay Ghai of Mukta Films Ltd, "The director and heroine were both new. The film didn’t boast of extravagant sets or exclusive outdoors, so the production cost was automatically in control, at ` 32 crore minus Salman’s fee. In terms of volume, it returned about 300 per cent."
Question them about Ekta Kapoor’s relatively economical Love Sex Aur Dhoka directed by Dibakar Bannerjee, which cost about ` 4 crore and grossed over ` 10 crore, and Mumbai distributor Ramesh Sippy says, "Although LSD had a turnover much in excess of its cost, it’s not an all-India hit nor will it go down memory lane. It is a commendable effort that paid off very well, but the fact remains that Dabangg worked all across."
In the same vein, Suneil Wadhwa, a major distributor from CP (north India) territory, adds that universal appeal makes Dabangg the numero uno movie of 2010. "It worked equally well in single screens and multiplexes, in all centres from big metros to small towns, and struck a chord with the audience. Every distributor and exhibitor made money," he explains.
The trade market shares a similar stance on Golmaal 3 being the second biggest hit of the year. "Ajay Devgn and Kareena Kapoor were the biggest actors and it maintained a good risk-reward ratio. Being a Diwali release, it not only opened very well, but also went on to do good business in the third and fourth weeks, crossing over `100 crore," says Delhi-based distributor Sanjay Mehta. Interestingly, Golmaal 3 scored over Dabangg in the Mumbai territory.
While a section of the trade put Prakash Jha’s political drama Raajneeti at number three, trade analyst Amod Mehra feels I Hate Love Storys, too, makes the grade. "Costing about `25 crore, it returned about `45 crore, which is very good," he says, adding that Sajid Khan’s Housefull comes next, making the top five.
Apart from these, Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai and Peepli Live too make it to the hit category while Ishqiya and Tere Bin Laden are said to have done average business. Sanjay Ghai says Shankar’s Robot (Hindi) too did well earning `30 crore, while the figures of the Tamil original aren’t being disclosed by Sun, which produced and distributed the Rajnikanth-Aishwarya Rai Bachchan sci-fi extravaganza. Karan Johar’s My Name Is Khan with Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol did very well internationally, but according to Ashish Saxena, CEO, Big Cinemas, "It didn’t make money for Fox Star, which distributed the film worldwide."