Watching Slumdog Millionare was not part of Patric Patterson’s schedule. But swayed by the hype over its performance at the Oscar ceremony, where it bagged eight awards, this US tourist, who is in Kolkata with girlfriend Melissa Hogg, queued up at the city’s iconic Nandan hall to watch the film.
Like Patterson and Hogg, thousands of Indians, too, are showing a renewed interest in the film. Result: its fortunes at the Indian box office have been dramatically resurrected. While this may come as good news to the film’s distributors, what won’t please them is the fact that sales of pirated CDs and DVDs have also perked up.
Across the country, halls and multiplexes showing Slumdog have seen an average 15-20 rise in ticket sales. In Delhi, the decision to exempt the film from taxes provided an added fillip to the demand for tickets.
“After yesterday’s showing, people many people came to watch Slumdog out of curiosity,” said Deepak Taluja, senior vice-president, FUN Cinema, which registered an increase of 5-10 per cent in ticket sales across all its halls.
Sangeeta Agarwal, a student in Kolkata, said, while coming out of Nandan, where she had gone to see the film for a second time: “This movie has created a history. That’s why I have come again to watch it with my classmates.”
In Mumbai, movie halls and multiplexes showing the English version of Slumdog Millionaire registered a 30-40 per cent rise in footfalls. But the ones screening the Hindi version did not fare as well.
Said Alok Tandon, chief operating officer, INOX Leisure: “The excitement over Slumdog has not abated, so we have added a show.”
And in Chennai, Satyam Cinemas is “scaling up the screening of this film from a 272-seat auditorium to one with 948 seats”, said S.V. Swaroop Reddy, a director of the company.