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Lacklustre Diwali for Bollywood

The festive season - every filmmaker?s delight - failed to light up the box office this year, writes Hiren Kotwani.

india Updated: Nov 04, 2006 13:07 IST

The festive phase of Diwali and Eid, every filmmaker’s delight, has passed without lighting even a small flicker of hope at the ticket windows. Both the big Diwali releases — Don and Jaan-e-Mann, failed to make much of an impact.

Don, despite moderate success, is not quite a feather in Farhan Akhtar’s cap. And audience didn’t exactly fall in love with Shirish Kunder’s Jaan-e-Mann. “The films didn’t live up to expectations. Don registered much better collections in the first week as compared to Jaan-e-mann, but the second week has seen a big drop,” says trade analyst Vinod Mirani.

He adds that the period after the actual Diwali day is better than the festival day itself as then people are busy celebrating. Don probably scraped through both due to the hype and more favourable word-of-mouth publicity.

 
Akshay Kumar and Preity Zinta in a still from Jaan-e-mann. 

“The hype for

Don

was high, so it drew in the crowds first. While

Jaan-e-Mann’s

promotion seemed old style, so it failed to attract audiences,” adds Vinod. Both films were released with about 1,200 prints worldwide. Pankaj Jaisingh of AshtaVinayak Cine vision (which acquired

Jaan-e-Mann’s

distribution rights at Rs 7.5 crore for the Mumbai region) counters, “Jaan-e-Mann was slow initially, but soon picked up. It did better in Mumbai than in other territories and overseas.”



Agrees trade analyst Amod Mehra: “It’s shocking that

Jaan-e-Mann

didn’t take off, neither here nor overseas, despite a big star cast.” But he suggests another reason for the film’s disappointing performance: “It could be director Shirish Kunder’s statements in the press where he expressed dissatisfaction working with producer Sajid Nadiadwala and some of the cast. When a director speaks against his team, the audience can’t be enthusiastic about his film.

Don

, which had already opened extraordinarily well, only benefited from

Jaan-e-Mann’s

loss.”



More money was riding on films this Diwali compared to last year, but their collections met only a fraction of expectations. Says Amod: “Diwali/Eid releases haven’t really fared well in the last two years —

Veer-Zaara

opened very well in the first week, but dropped in the second,

Aitraaz 

was just about okay, while

Naach

failed to take off. This is the third Diwali where films haven’t lived up to expectations.”



Quite an anti-climax in a year that has had blockbusters like

Rang De Basanti, Fanaa, Krrish

and

Lage Raho Munnabhai

. Does it mean that you no longer need the festive season to make a bang at the box office?



hiren.kotwani@hindustantimes.com