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Trade espresso: Smiles to go

The gloom cleared, this Friday with the return of moviegoers to the cinema halls for Aditya Chopra’s Rab ne Bana di Jodi featuring Shah Rukh Khan in a dual personality role, reports Vajir Singh.

india Updated: Dec 15, 2008 18:45 IST
Vajir Singh

The upbeat news is that audiences have begun to return to the cinema halls. After the 26/11 terror attacks, movie ticket sales had plummeted not only in Mumbai but all over the country. Naturally, viewers were shocked by the real-life events and were glued to their TV sets to watch the reportage.

All the films that released in the immediate weeks tanked. The one that cut the sorriest figure was Onir’s presciently titled Sorry Bhai!, which collected less than one per cent of the hall’s capacity at some centers. Trade reports confirmed that some shows had to be cancelled because not one person had turned up at the ticket window. Other films that bombed were Dil Kabaddi and Maharathi.

Silver lining
The gloom cleared, this Friday with the return of moviegoers to the cinema halls for Aditya Chopra’s Rab ne Bana di Jodi featuring Shah Rukh Khan in a dual personality role.

It has evoked mixed reactions, but is on its way to be counted among the hits of the year. Made on an estimated budget of Rs 35 crore, it is expected to recover its investment and some more. Just don’t expect another Dilwale Dulhaniya le Jayenge though.

Pre-release jitters
Needless to emphasise, the expectations were sky high. Owners of multiplex chains as well as singleplexes were a bit apprehensive though — would spectators return in sufficiently large numbers? On the other hand, a section of the trade was hopeful that Rab ne Bana di Jodi would take a flying start. It did.. but here comes the rub.. not everywhere.

The film managed a very good to extra-ordinary beginning at the box-office. The noon shows on Friday opened with 50 to 60
per cent collections. A marginal rise was evidenced in the afternoon shows.

The audience began coming in larger numbers to the evening and late night shows which registered collections between 70 and 80 per cent.

Picking up
The film got a favourable enough response, leading to an up-curve on Saturday. The film has recorded its best business in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and most of the northern region. In the overseas market, Rab ne Bana di Jodi has scored particularly well in the U K and the Middle East. But in the U S, it’s just about okay.

At the multiplexes, family audiences returned. Going by the first weekend collections and the buzz, the film is expected to
sustain its collections during the week days (even if it is showing as many as 20 shows daily in several Mumbai multiplexes).

Win-win situation
It appears to be a winner — and will reach the hit slot — particularly at the multiplexes. Also its fortunes are buoyed by the fact that there is no major Hindi movie release next week.

Collecting about Rs 5.75 crores across India on day one, Rab ne Bana di Jodi is expected to net about Rs 28 crore.. almost on par with the year’s major hit Golmaal Returns.

Besides Dil Kabaddi and Maharathi, last week’s releases Meerabai Not Out, Oh, My God!! and Gumnaam have tanked big time.