Bollywood Business Talk with Taran Adarsh


By Taran Adarsh Bollywood Hungama News Network

Box-office is so unpredictable. In 1981, the doyen of South cinema, L.V. Prasad's EK DUUJE KE LIYE starred two faces unknown to a majority of Hindi cinegoers. Kamal Haasan and Rati Agnihotri were established actors in South and were trying their luck in Hindi films now. LP's music had already become a rage and it lacked star names, the opening numbers were in 90% + range. Kamal Haasan and Rati had arrived.

Post EK DUUJE KE LIYE, a number of people headed towards South to sign Kamal, while a few decided to dub his Tamil films in Hindi. I vividly recall conducting an exhaustive interview with L.V. Prasad for 'Trade Guide' at his Tardeo office and the veteran spoke very, very highly of Kamal Haasan, calling him one of the most dedicated and hard-working actors he had ever worked with in his illustrious career.

I watched EK DUUJE KE LIYE a number of times subsequently, some times on the big screen, at times while surfing the channels. Every time you watched the film, you couldn't ignore Kamal's bravura performance.

Kamal acted in a plethora of films subsequently, winning hearts, accolades and proving his mettle at the box-office. Films like SANAM TERI KASAM, GERAFTAAR, even HINDUSTANI and CHACHI 420 opened to excellent houses. But the decline started with HEY RAM, then MUMBAI EXPRESS. Now DASHAVTAR [dubbed Hindi version] has hit an all-time low as far as the business is concerned.

Talking from the business point of view, DASHAVTAR has been the lowest opener of Kamal Haasan in the Hindi belt. The opening was pathetic -- 5% to 10% -- and the film was a non-performer on the remaining two days of the weekend [Saturday, Sunday]. Monday onwards, let's not talk.

DASHAVTAR arrived without any fanfare. The TV promotion started barely a few days before its release. Ideally, there should've been a 3-week rigorous promotion in print, on TV, Internet, radio, across all mediums. The quality and quantity of promos were equally disappointing. That's a prime reason why viewers weren't excited.

The common man is well aware that no new films are being released, thanks to the conflict between producers/distributors and multiplexes. Perhaps, that must've also kept the audiences away, since a lot of people I spoke to weren't even aware DASHAVTAR had opened.

Not that aggressive promotion would've helped. DASHAVTAR is an unbearable film [in my individualistic opinion] and even the reviews were outright negative. As things stand today, looking at its business, if DASHAVTAR manages to complete a one-week run at the plexes/single screens, it would be a big achievement.