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Content is queen in Bollywood

Kahaani rewrites box-office script, Agneepath remakes a debacle into a blockbuster, some smaller surprises give the film industry a reason to smile through the traditionally infertile first quarter of the year.

bollywood Updated: Apr 06, 2012 15:54 IST
Roshmila Bhattcharya
Roshmila Bhattcharya
Hindustan Times

Bollywood’s usually lack-lustre first quarter has ended on a surprise high in 2012 with Kahaani emerging as the biggest earner with net collections of Rs 55.50 crore on an investment of Rs 5 crore. “It currently ranks No. 5 on the IMDB box-office list of all-time biggest grossers,” says the film’s director Sujoy Ghosh, attributing its appeal to the global format that has worked with the audience that is more exposed to world cinema today.

Kahaani, however, Sujoy admits, is everything a commercial Bollywood film shouldn’t be. It has no big names apart from Vidya Balan. It has come during, what is traditionally considered an infertile period with exams keeping young audiences away. And it is a thriller, which usually doesn’t lure in crowds for second viewing as the mystery has been revealed. But its success has busted some popular trade myths and superstitions, says Sunil Punjabi, CEO, Cinemax. “It continues to perform in its fourth week, breaking records across the country. In some theatres, it’s getting even more footfalls than Ready (2011).”

Agneepath has also made it to the hit list thanks to a strong opening. Its sustaining power has helped it gross Rs 125 crore to date. "Karan Johar (producer) has proved that you don’t need to remake hits. You can remake flops and by ensuring you don’t repeat the shortcomings, you can make a blockbuster out of a debacle," points out trade analyst Komal Nahta.

The number of hits during this three-month period has not been too high, but three films — Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu (EMAET), Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya and Paan Singh Tomar — have managed to spring some pleasant surprises. Says Gaurav Verma, VP, India theatrical distribution, UTV, “Paan Singh Tomar, which was made on a budget of Rs 4.50 crore with an additional Rs 3.50 crore spent on print and publicity has, to date, done a business of Rs 20 crore on theatricals. EMAET has grossed Rs 53 crore to date.” Says trade analyst Taran Adarsh, “It’s been good with all these three films; the two major setbacks being Players and Agent Vinod.”

Hollywood too hasn’t had a great run so far with only The Artist from the Oscar list finding some takers among film connoisseurs.

But there’s a lot to look forward to with big franchises like the Men In Black, Spider-Man, Bond and Total Recall on the way. Meanwhile, it’s still Kahaani spinning a new box-office story and, as Sujoy puts it, proving that content is not just king, but queen too!

Hits, super hits and the blockbuster!
‘Plus’ or average: A film that, for instance, on an investment of Rs 5 cr, recovers its money and makes Rs 6 cr
Hit: If it doubles its investment with a Rs 10 cr gross
Super hit: Does business between Rs 10-15 cr
Blockbuster: Rs 20 cr & above

First Published: Apr 06, 2012 15:47 IST