The year 2009 certainly didn't belong to UTV Motion Pictures. But the production house is bullish about 2010, with small budget films like Paan Singh Tomar to biggies like Chance Pe Dance set to woo audiences.
A good chunk of the investment made in the Shahid Kapoor-Genelia D'Souza- starrer Chance Pe Dance - UTV's first release of the year - has already been recovered and its box office revenue is expected to make it a profitable venture.
"The cost of production of Chance Pe Dance is Rs.20 crore (Rs.200 million) while an additional Rs.5 crore has been spent on print and publicity. Given the kind of buzz the film has managed to create, it should be a matter of a few days before this investment is recovered," said Siddharth Roy Kapoor, CEO, UTV Motion Pictures.
This year too the strategy of mixing up films across genres continues for UTV with a number of small budget films lined up in the next few months.
"We have 'Paan Singh Tomar' (Irrfan Khan), 'Peter Gaya Kaam Se' (Rajeev Khandelwal) and 'Phillum City' all set for release in February and March. We are supremely confident about these films.
"Then we also have bigger films like 'Chance Pe Dance' and Prakash Jha's 'Rajneeti' ready. We have our wheels moving and look forward to an eventful 2010 since we have close to half a dozen other films on the floors as well," said Kapoor.
Commenting upon last year's poor performance, Kapoor said: "Yes, we had a lower success rate in 2009. We did introspect the cause of those films which didn't work at the box office, just like we do for those which are successful. In any case, it was a mixed year for the industry in general."
In fact, 2009 had begun on a good note for the UTV boss and producer, Ronnie Screwvala, with Anurag Kashyap's "Dev D" finding critical acclaim as well as decent commercial success.
However, biggies like Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's "Delhi 6" and Ashutosh Gowariker's "What's Your Raashee?" and Salman Khan's "Main Aurr Mrs.Khanna" were setbacks that pegged the production house down to a large extent.
Kapoor refuses to blame the market situation for an unfortunate run.
"It's the audience which decides what they like and what they don't. If some films didn't work, it's a clear case of the audiences not liking them. We take it all as learning. Yes, we will continue to support each of our films and devise the kind of marketing and promotional plans they deserve," he said.
Known as the messiah of small films, UTV has in the past few years enjoyed great success with "Khosla Ka Ghosla", "A Wednesday", "Aamir", "Mumbai Meri Jaan", "Welcome To Sajjanpur" and "Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye".
However, luck didn't favour them in 2009 when smaller films like "Dhoondte Reh Jaaoge", "Agyaat" and "Aagey Se Right" didn't earn much from the theatres.
(Joginder Tuteja can be contacted at email@example.com)