Last Friday, six Hindi and two English movies (with dubbed Hindi versions) assaulted the theatres. All eight have
reportedly gone down like nine pins. But the invasion continues.
“Producers are committing professional hara-kiri at a time when given the market, the common man just doesn’t have the time, inclination or even the money to splurge on one movie, forget eight,” says an agitated trade analyst, Taran Adarsh.
Another trade know-all Amod Mehra agrees and says he’d seen this happening in the wake of the two-month strike. “We had barely 26 weeks left when the strike ended and 80-90 films to space out. That’s the reason two biggies are coming together even with producers sitting down and planning releases. Such strategies will continue only till November after which it’ll be to each his own,” says Mehra.
A disheartened Prashant Raj whose second film Toss has been tossed, sighs, “Even though my film has been appreciated, so many films releasing on the same day has affected the inflow of cinegoers.”
The industry is bleeding between Rs 25 to Rs 40 crore every week. Mehra points out, even a small film like Toss or Yeh Mera India couldn’t have cost anything less than Rs 5 crore, including print and publicity. And a star-studded movie like Daddy Cool would have entailed a minimum investment of Rs 12 crore. This meant that last week, even if we took an average of Rs 5 crore per movie, Bollywood lost at least Rs 30 crore.
Says Aditya Shroff, assistant vice president programming, corporate sales and distribution, Fame Cinemas, “The Ramzan and Ganapati period is traditionally slack for business with collections taking a 20-25 per cent dive. But still a lot of small films try to squeeze into this period.” The reason for this, explains distributor Rakesh Sippy is that these small films don’t find outlets during favourable periods.
Agrees N Chandra, whose YMI released last Friday: “Ideally, I would have liked to come on August 15 but the strike pushed the release forward.” Fighting for screens with a biggie would negate even a slim chance of these smallish films catching the audience’s fancy.
However, to boost its prospects, even a non-star cast film needs to pack in a mighty punch with its publicity. None of last Friday’s damp squibs, with the possible exception of Fox Star Studio’s Quick Gun Murugun, had great promotion.
Mehra doesn’t see the industry adding to its tally of hits before Diwali when De Dana Dan and All The Best release.
Still, Vikram Bhatt whose Three comes to the theatres this Friday, is soldiering on bravely: “Competitions always brings out the best. It is content that decides the fate of a movie.”
His enthusiasm is echoed by his heroine Nausheen Ali Sardar who asserts, “A good movie always stands out, come rain, recession or too many releases.