Although three months of 2008 are nearly over, there has been no big, unqualified hit. In fact, the movie trade believes that vis-à-vis business, it has been the worst first quarter of the year in recent memory. So, what's in store for the upcoming summer holidays? Our trade hawk Vajir Singh answers
The mercury is rising.. but is that affecting apna Bollywood? Curiously summer movie releases, a major phenomenon the world over, are not such a big deal here.
After all, the Diwali and Eid weeks, come October-November, are the most box-office friendly months.
During the summer months, some viewers just go in for the air-conditioning. Some view April-May as family outings to the multiplexes. And some college co-eds, after the exams are over, cosy up coolly in the corner seat, last row. Not surprisingly even in the metros, several , cinema halls still advertise the fact that they are air-conditioned!
<b1>It's all quite seasonal
Summer, then, should see a virtual housefull show at every auditorium, never mind the quality of the movie un-spooling on the screen. They don't because there are other factors too. A good part of moviegoers have left the city for vacations, domestic and international. Plus, believe it or not, many auditoria classic examples of bad timing, suffer from power cuts.
This summer, movie attendance may be severely affected by the telecast of cricket matches between the Indian Premiere League teams, kicking off for as many as 44 days from April 18. Shah Rukh Khan will be visible on the small screen, and not at the Inox, Fame, PVR or Regal.
No wonder, as the first quarter of the year inches to an end, both the trade and the never-say-die moviegoer are still hoping against hope for that feel-wonderful hit.
Of the 21 odd films expected to release from March to May end, the greatest expectations are from Yash Raj banner's Tashan. The crime thriller has been scheduled for release on April 25.
Immediately, there's Abbas Mustan's Race which is expected to fetch an initial crowd at the very least, thanks to the slick TV promos.
Last year, in the summer months, 15 films had been released. Of these, Shootout at Lokhandwala and Life.. in a Metro had achieved average success. The shoe string budgeted Bheja Fry was the surprise hit while Cheeni Kum was a commission-earner, which is trade argot for a film which recovers its investment and some more.
Internationally, the trend is to release movies specially designed for children during the summer holiday months. This year, the two kiddie-friendly movies will be the animation feature
, the Amitabh Bachchan fantasy caper.
Ta Ra Rum Pum
, a car racing movie with two kids plus Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukherjee, had failed to amuse the baba-baby log segment.
In contrast to the summer fever of movies in Hollywood, film business remains quite chancy in India as the full-of-beans trade analyst Vikas Mohan affirms, "See, during school and college breaks, families travel to their ‘native' places. Also domestic helps who patronise the single screen halls like Super and Imperial, take off to their muluks."
Besides Diwali-Eid, the auspicious box-office months are Christmas and Easter (for movies with the overseas audience in mind). "Then of course, summer, winter or monsoon, any long weekend is a major booster even for the lousiest picture," Mohan thumps a table to stress his point.
Indeed, in the last five years the summer months have been so-so at the movie cash counters. 2004 was an exception though.. three of the 16 releases were on the list of the top 10 hits of the year - Main Hoon Na, Murder and Masti.
This summer, six debutant directors will be unveiling their work: Ajay Devgan (U, Me aur Hum), former assistant director Raja Sen (Krazzy 4), the co-writer of the Dhoom movies Vijay Krishna Acharya (Tashan), Kunal Shivdasani (Hijack), Vivek Sharma (Bhootnath) and Arjun Bali (Ru Ba Ru).
Coming Up Soon:
One Two Three, Hijack, Bhram, Jannat, Shaurya, Bhoothnath, Sirf - Life looks greener on the other side, The Mere Baap Pehle Aap, Aamir, Krazzy 4, Click , U Me aur Hum, Hello, Jimmy, Ru Ba Ru , Tashan, Wednesday, Anamika, Wodstock Villa, Ghatotkach, Zindagi Tere Naam