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Will Raavan recover its investment?

Mani Ratnam’s modern-day Ramayana, toplining Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Vikram and Govinda, opened yesterday. And the buzz is that it won’t be easy for the Hindi-Tamil bi-lingual (with a dubbed Telugu version too) to recover its Rs 100 crore-plus investment

entertainment Updated: Jun 19, 2010 18:07 IST
Hiren Kotwani

Mani Ratnam’s modern-day Ramayana, toplining Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Vikram and Govinda, opened yesterday. And the buzz is that it won’t be easy for the Hindi-Tamil bi-lingual (with a dubbed Telugu version too) to recover its Rs 100 crore-plus investment (excluding prints and publicity).

Trade analyst Taran Adarsh admits that “the opening isn’t good” but says it’s too early to write it off. “A clearer picture will emerge after the initial curiosity wears off,” he says. Another trade analyst, Komal Nahta, attributes the slow start to the promos that didn’t convey much. “Today, the audience wants to know what the movie is about before they buy a ticket,” he says. “Besides, the film has turned the Ramayana around in the end and Indians don’t like mythology being tampered with.”

Industry veteran Amod Mehra shares the sentiment: “The Friday morning show had barely 20 per cent occupancy. One can’t imagine this from the director of Roja, Bombay, Yuva and Guru.”

Other arguments against the film are that the story is supposedly set in Madhya Pradesh, yet cops are seen wearing Uttar Pradesh police badges, someone is reading a local Jhansi newspaper, some things are typically Maharashtrian, the boats are from Kerala and a cap from China.

Stands a chance
Despite the negative reports, Devang Sampat, vice president, Cinemax, is hopeful of the film picking up during the weekend. “The afternoon show on Friday was about 50 per cent full. There’s Abhishek and Aishwarya Bachchan, South star Vikram, and it’s a Mani Ratnam film,” he says, but believes that the Tamil version will generate better collections because down south, people have a different perception of Raavan.

Nahta too feels that the Tamil Raavan, featuring Vikram as Beera, will do better because he’s a huge star there. Mani Ratnam too has a huge fan following. He signs off saying, “I don’t see the Hindi Raavan succeeding at the box-office.”