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It was a black Friday for Bollywood

Shocking! Seventeen films released in cinemas across the country last Friday, April 23. Seven of them were in Hindi. And no shock all bombed at the BO.

india Updated: May 01, 2010 17:22 IST
Hiren Kotwani

Shocking! Seventeen films released in cinemas across the country last Friday, April 23. Seven of them were in Hindi and included Apartment, City Of Gold, Kuchh Kariye, Bird Idol, Muskura Ke Dekh Zara and Mumbai 118.

Apart from these, four were dubbed in Hindi, and three were in English. Predictably, all flopped. What is surprising is that many industry folks were actually unaware that so many movies were releasing on the same day.

According to a well-placed source in a multiplex chain, even the basic marketing was absent in the case of some, and it’s no wonder that many viewers were unaware that they had so many films to choose from over the weekend. No gold rush this Veteran trade analyst Komal Nahta attributes the flood of releases to the fact that it was the last Friday before the IPL wrapped up.

“Several small film makers came in a rush to avoid a clash with the big budget, star-studded Titans like Housefull that releases this Friday,” he points out, adding that shows for many movies at many centers were cancelled on the first day itself.

Not good enough
Amod Mehra, another trade analyst, asserts that today there are no takers for films like Mumbai 118 and Apartment. “And though Mumbaikars, to an extent, connect with a subject revolving around mill workers and Lalbaug Parel did decent business in Marathi, its Hindi version, City Of Gold, drew only few people.

Even the bluff of giving it a different title didn’t work. Mahesh Manjrekar may be a messiah for the Marathi film industry but as a Hindi director his track record has been suspect after Vaastav,” asserts Mehra.

Terming the record-breaking release of duds, “a stock clearance sale,” our multiplex source adds, “The IPL semi-finals and finals fared far better than the movies. Unfortunately, no producer thinks he’s making a small film, they are all under the misconception that they’re churning out blockbusters.”

Lost cause
Pegging the loss to about Rs 25-30 crore for the Hindi films, Nahta says the theatres suffered bigger losses, registering barely seven-to-eight per cent occupancy even during the weekend. “No wonder they had to cancel many shows to shut down the screens, hoping for a better turn out in the following shows,” he says.

However, he is optimistic of Housefull reversing the tide. Mehra agrees since its first big release in three months and has the advantage of a holiday on May 1.“It should do roaring business in the first three days,” he predicts.