Currently, a debate is on about the commercial performance of Ram Gopal Varma's much self-praised Sarkar Raj.
The producers have declared the film a hit and splashed posters proclaiming that across the city (quite a few movies do that actually).
Trade magazines have politely declared it an ‘average' grosser, while some distributors across the country think otherwise.
A section of the trade insists that Sarkar Raj will prove to be a losing proposition for all its distributors, except in Mumbai and some parts of the Maharashtra.
In Mumbai, the collections were good to start with but nosedived on week days. The number of shows has been reduced in the second week in almost every theatre.
Distributors speak: Avtar Singh Kochar of Dolly Films and Gunjan Films, Delhi: As per my knowledge, Sarkar Raj was sold for almost Rs 6 crore for Delhi, UP and Punjab and will only be able to recover Rs 3 crore. Since the film is backed by a corporate giant, they're scared to accept the fact that the film is a flop.
Shrikant Sethi of Roop Rajat Cine Vision, Rajasthan: The Rajasthan distributor, Sahara One, will lose almost 50 per cent of its investment. On Thursday, June 12, Sarkar Raj collected just Rs 700 in its morning show at Galaxy, Jaipur. How can the film be declared a hit?
Mahendra Soni of Venkatesh 2000, West Bengal: The film is doing fairly well in multiplexes but the collection in singleplexes ranges between eight and 10 per cent. I think the film was sold to West Bengal for about Rs 1.25 crore but looking at its collections, it will only be able to recover about Rs 80 to 85 lakh.
The collections are much below Mr Amitabh Bachchan's other movies. In fact, Bhoothnath collected more money than Sarkar Raj.
Meanwhile, black clouds thickened over the ticket counters. All the releases of the week – Priyadarshan's Mere Baap Pehle Aap, Suhail Tatari's Summer 2007 and Bhavik Thakore's animation film Dashavatar – were no-nos.
The rains are being blamed for the less than lukewarm response but the trade pundits believe that the films were below the quality mark.
Unexpectedly poor start Much was expected from Mere Baap Pehle Aap as the director's last three films (Bhagam Bhag, Dhol and Bhool Bhulaiya) had done well. Akshaye Khanna had been appreciated for Race.
Yet the comedy opened with the tepid response of 30 to 40 per cent at the multiplexes. The takings were worse at the single screen auditoria.
Summer 2007, despite being promoted well as a youth film, met with a poor start. As for the animated Dashavatar, it has already been declared a dud.
Last week's Aamir and Hum Sey Hai Jahaan have joined the growing family of flops.