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Unexpected hits spin BO success

The first quarter of the year has been encouraging, observes Diganta Guha.

india Updated: Apr 11, 2006 17:10 IST

It’s April and Bollywood is smiling. The first quarter of the year - even with March not having too many releases due to exams - has been encouraging in terms of box-office returns.

The January jinx was broken with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Rang De Basanti - the first superhit film this year. "It’s a hit mainly in the cities," says trade expert Komal Nahta. But the figures are extremely heartening. RDB has so far earned Rs 65 crore overall and the numbers are growing. A surprise hit has been Priyadarshan’s comedy Malamaal Weekly, which according to experts, is the first universal hit of 2006. A small-budget film (Rs 6 crore), it has already earned Rs 12 crore overall.

What is interesting is that small and experimental films have been appreciated. Malamaal Weekly didn’t have any stars but still worked well. On an even smaller scale, Rajat Kapoor’s wife-swapping tale, Mixed Doubles, did better than expected.

Priyadarshan’s comedy, Malamaal Weekly, is an unexpected hit. This small-budget film (Rs 6 crore), it has already earned Rs 12 crore overall.

Made on a budget of Rs 1.5 crore,

Mixed Doubles

earned around Rs 3 crore (it didn't release abroad). Homi Adajania’s dark comedy

Being Cyrus

, with a budget of Rs 3 crore has earned Rs 6 crore in two weeks.

Nahta points out that even Ananth Mahadevan’s Emraan Hashmi starrer Aksar has done reasonable business. "It’s more because of the music that it’s doing well. It’s helped the film recover its costs."

Another hit, in select places, has been Milan Luthria’s Taxi No 9 2 11. "It’s done above average business," says Trade Guide editor Taran Adarsh. The Nana Patekar-John Abraham chemistry was the USP of the film. Taxi… has already earned around Rs 9 crore at the domestic box office.

Compare these figures with last year and there’s reason enough to cheer. Last year, around the same time we had just two successes- Page 3 and Black. The rest of the films flopped. In this context, the industry has done reasonably well.

Not that there have not been disappointments- Rajkumar Santoshi’s Family and Vikram Chopra’s multi-starrer Fight Club (both of which arrived with a lot of hype) did poorly. The reports of Shaadi Se Pehle, Banaras and Saawan - which released last Friday- aren’t good either. Shaadi… has had a 30 per cent opening.

But both Nahta and Adarsh are of the view that we can hope for the better. There are plenty of important films coming up in this year.

These include big-budget films like Kunal Kohli’s Fanaa (Aamir Khan-Kajol), Rakesh Roshan’s Krrish (Hrithik Roshan-Priyanka Chopra), Karan Johar’s Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (Amitabh Bachchan-Shah Rukh Khan-Abhishek Bachchan), JP Dutta’s Umraao Jaan (Abhishek-Aishwarya Rai) and Farhan Akhtar’s Don (SRK-Priyanka Chopra-Kareena Kapoor) among others. It could be a profitable year as a whole, feel insiders.

First Published: Apr 11, 2006 17:09 IST