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Children's films spell poor success in Bollywood

With Chain Kulii Ki Main Kulii opening to a dull respose, Bollywood's attempt to produce a box-office hit with children's subject matter has been dashed.

india Updated: Jun 30, 2007 16:08 IST

Bollywood's attempt to produce a box-office hit with children's subject matter has been dashed. Chain Kulii Ki Main Kulii opened to a dull response and ran empty seats throughout its first week.

The children's film industry has been neglected for decades by filmmakers and has only produced a couple of hit films, despite kids contributing heavily to the success of a movie. The budget for kids' films in India is also meagre.

Successful kids films like Makdee grossed over Rs 7 million, Hanuman collected Rs 30 million and Koi ... Mil Gaya and Krrish, family movies that attracted the young and the old alike and made Hrithik Roshan an icon among many children, earned over Rs180 million and Rs 410 million respectively.

Some of the good movies in the past that drew the attention of kids include Tapan Sinha's Safed Haathi (1977), Rajesh Khanna starrer Haathi Mere Saathi (1971) and Reena Roy's Rani Aur Lalpari (1975).

While children's books and kids channels are on the boom in India, Bollywood is still searching for its magic potion to script success.

Over the years, Bollywood has cut down on dishing out films catering to children. Critics say making a kids film now is venturing into high risks, which most filmmakers are not ready to take up.

"With changing times, the maturity of children has changed," Derek Bose, a Bollywood scholar, told IANS.

"With children now surrounded by hi-tech elements, they are preferring to watch either Hollywood action films or even Bollywood films. Plus the maturity of a child is much more than what it was about 10 years ago.

"Moreover, there is no definition for a children's film and people have this false notion that if a film has children running around, it becomes a kids movie. Another problem is to locate which age group the film should target to capture."

<b1>Bose added: "Again, society now has terms like tweens - the entire society is changing and Bollywood should keep all these considerations in mind before deciding to make such a film. This spells a big risk for filmmakers. The industry today should produce films that appeal to people of all age groups for tasting success."

Chain Kulii Ki Main Kulii, which features acclaimed actor Rahul Bose, was publicised to be a brave initiative to crack the hugely potential children's film industry but the dull script accompanied with unplanned television promos made it nosedive at the box office.

"The film lost all its ground during the promotional stage itself. They were bad and hardly appealing," Suleman Mobhani, co-founder of IndiaFm, a top Bollywood trade website, told IANS.

The film projects a sensitive relationship between Rahul, who plays the role of the Indian cricket team captain trying to pull the team from its falling fortunes, and Zain Khan, who plays a 13-year-old orphan boy who gets selected for the national team.

"It was just 10 days before the film's release that the promos showed bits of the story which brought out the fact that it was a movie about a child playing cricket. The earlier promos looked like it was a music video and people could not take Rahul dancing with women in one of them. His image did not suit it," Mobhani said.

Business for the film is expected to further dip this weekend with the three big releases Apne, Awarapan and Aap Ka Surroor slugging it out for box office glory.

First Published: Jun 30, 2007 14:54 IST