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Bollywood badshahs brawl

Opinion in the industry is divided. Hits from 2-3 years ago cannot be compared in revenue terms with current blockbusters as the industry has expanded.

india Updated: Apr 30, 2006 02:39 IST

How much money do the big Bollywood hits rake in at the box office? The question has ballooned into a huge spat in tinsel town. Several producers, including Yash Chopra of Yashraj Films and Karan Johar of Dharma Productions, are considering legal action after ads put out by the Rang De Basanti producers claimed it was the second largest grosser of the decade after Zee’s Gadar -- Ek Prem Katha.

The producers of Rang De Basanti -- UTV Motion Pictures and Rakyesh Mehra -- had in the ads placed in two leading dailies claimed the Aamir Khan hit had made total net box office collections in the domestic circuit of over Rs 50 crore leaving behind other big titles including Koi Mil Gaya (Rakesh Roshan -- Rs 49 crore), Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (Johar -- Rs 45 crore) and Bunty Aur Babli (Yash Chopra -- Rs 42 crore).

Both Johar and Chopra are believed to have taken exception at the public pulling down of their successful movie projects by the Rang De Basanti team without checking the veracity of the revenue figures published in the ads. Both are believed to have shot off legal notices as well.

UTV chairman Ronnie Screwvala said things had calmed down after he had apologised to Johar and Aditya Chopra. “I have personally apologised, and the dispute is over. We were excited about UTV’s first big success; we had no intention of showing other producers in poor light,” Screwvala told HT.

“If he has issued an apology, I have not seen it,” responded Johar. On whether he was contemplating legal action, Johar said, “I cannot comment on that right now.”

Roshan, on the other hand told HT, “Ronnie does not seem to be aware of the correct figures for my films. But I am not planning to take any legal action against UTV right now. I am too preoccupied with the post-production of Krrish.” Chopra, away in Paris, was not available for comment.

Opinion in the industry is divided. Hits from 2-3 years ago cannot be compared in revenue terms with current blockbusters as the industry has expanded. Big films are releasing with 500 prints or more, when two years ago even the blockbusters ran with just 100 prints. Also, with the multiplex entertainment culture, people are paying more than double for movie tickets compared to the rates prevailing two years ago, point out industry observers.