Shanghai has opened to great reviews. But the Abhay Deol-Emraan Hashmi starrer isn’t faring as well as expected at the box office.
Ordinarily, this wouldn’t mean a thing. Excellent reviews do not always translate to a good box-office performance, and Shanghai is not your typical mainstream Hindi movie after all. But for the superstitious Ekta Kapoor, the fate of the Dibakar Banerjee film would just be further evidence of something she has long believed — that almost all films that premiere at IIFA’s annual awards (as Shanghai just did) fail to do that well at the box-office.
So strongly does she believe this that when the IIFA organisers asked if her company, Balaji Motion Pictures, would screen either Kya Superkool Hai Hum (KSKHH) or Shootout At Wadala at the awards ceremony this weekend, she turned them down.
“Balaji did negotiate with them at the start, but Ekta was not kicked about the idea,” says an industry insider. “She has seen that almost all films — with just a few exceptions — that have premiered at IIFA did not work commercially. Call it superstition or business acumen, but she didn’t want to go ahead with it. Among industry people, IIFA is being called a ‘panvati’ (unlucky) for film premieres.”
While Balaji’s recent films have mostly been huge hits, films screened at IIFA have been the opposite. “It’s almost as if they are jinxed,” says the insider.
Known to be superstitious, Ekta apparently discussed IIFA’s track record with friends at her birthday party recently. “She wasn’t dissing the function. But her observation turned out to be correct. When the entire industry functions around superstitions, why leave anything to chance?” adds the insider who was present at her party.
Ekta herself says Balaji did not screen a film at IIFA because “negotiations didn’t work out.” Did superstition have anything to do with it? She laughs. “Please! I’m not saying anything about it.”