By Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM
Bhandarkar completes his trilogy with TRAFFIC SIGNAL and everyone’s
curious to know its box-office fate: Is it red, amber or green signal
at the ticket window?
Call it a coincidence, Madhur never tasted success when he made
hardcore commercial films. TRISHAKTI [his directorial debut] and AAN,
both masala films, sank without a trace. With the sole exception of
SATTA, the realistic films he helmed, CHANDNI BAR, PAGE 3 and
CORPORATE, proved paying propositions. That explains why Percept
Picture Company, the producers of TRAFFIC SIGNAL, never found a dearth
of buyers for Madhur’s new film.
TRAFFIC SIGNAL found its share of advocates and adversaries. While a
section of the paying public liked the concept as well as the twist in
the tale in the second hour, a section of moviegoers didn’t agree to
the abrupt end of the film. A prominent North India distributor felt
that the protagonist should’ve done something more, so as to conclude
the story on a satisfying note. That’s a valid observation!
Like all Madhur’s films, TRAFFIC SIGNAL too had its best opening in
Mumbai/Maharashtra and the business escalated towards the evening
shows. The film behaved well on Saturday and Sunday in this territory
[70% +], although it was plain ordinary in some circuits.
As things stand today, the film should yield rich dividends from
Mumbai territory for sure. Mumbai city-suburbs, Thane and Pune were
rocking in the first weekend. Ditto for South. Its business in other
circuits seems to vary. Delhi/Uttar Pradesh should have a good first
week billing. In other circuits, the business ranges from decent to
Percept Picture Company, the producers, have made a neat profit
thanks to the sales of India theatrical rights [Mumbai fetched a
handsome price], Home Video and Satellite rights. Music rights also
fetched an okay amount, while the recovery from Overseas is almost
half-a-crore [and still counting].
Overall, it’s a ‘green’ light in some circuits [Mumbai/Maharashtra,
South] and ‘amber’ in some, partly due to its reasonable price tag!
THIS WEEK IN 2006
[Weekend: February 3-5, 2006]
A pleasant surprise and a rude shock. That’s how AKSAR and MERE
JEEVAN SAATHI behaved at the box-office.
AKSAR, backed by excellent music [Himesh Reshammiya], fantastic
promotion and an actor who’s popular with the youth [Emraan Hashmi],
was the first choice of moviegoers. The lethal combination of music and
sex [the smooches, the skin show et al] and qualitative promos ensured
that the film would attract more footfalls at movieplexes than the
much-delayed MERE JEEVAN SAATHI.
Consequently, when AKSAR took an encouraging start at several places
[75% +], it didn’t come as a surprise. But what caught a lot of people
unaware was the fact that the opening numbers were much better than the
two biggies of January [FAMILY, ZINDA]. For a film that has been made
at a modest budget, the good start was indeed an achievement.
On the other hand, MERE JEEVAN SAATHI aroused little passion from
Show 1 itself. The opening numbers at some places were in the range of
10%, which, again, caught a lot of people unaware. Yes, no one expected
MERE JEEVAN SAATHI to embark on a 90% start, but in view of the fact
that Akshay Kumar is riding high on popularity charts and with
billboards screaming ‘She’s back’ [hinting at Karisma Kapoor], one
definitely expected a 50% + initial for sure.
The failure of MERE JEEVAN SAATHI only underlines the fact that it’s
the content that drives a movie, not the stars.
THIS WEEK IN 2005
[Weekend: February 4-6, 2005]
A Sanjay Leela Bhansali film should ensure a 100% response for the
first three days in advance booking itself. But the opening of BLACK
was dismal: It ranged from 30% to 50% at several cinema halls. The
multiplexes were generating better business, as expected. The
collections of the film showed an upward trend at multiplexes on
Saturday and Sunday. Even on Monday, it was steady at several
multiplexes of metros. But it wasn’t as expected at several single
As for SHABD, what was so special about its script that excited
Sanju and Ash in the first place? And what kind of cinema was debutante
writer-director Leena Yadav trying to serve us? It’s very, very
important to keep the mindset of the Indian audiences in mind when you
attempt a film.
Also, where most debutante directors really falter is when they
compensate a cohesive script with brilliant visuals. Who cares if the
visuals are great or not? At the end of the day, a moviegoer wants to
witness an engrossing story, not a bizarre theme.