Bollywood Business Talk With Taran Adarsh: 'Harry Potter' dominates!

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By Taran Adarsh Bollywood Hungama News Network

It's a HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE wave across the globe. U.S., U.K., Australia... in India too, HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE has debuted at No. 1 position on the box-office charts. It trounced the two Hindi oppositions -- JASHNN and DEKH RE DEKH -- by a wide margin. In fact, HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE was miles ahead of its rivals. Does it come as a surprise? Not really!

If you observe the business of Hollywood films in India, the graph has only shown an upward trend year after year. Decades ago, a Hollywood film would open at 2 or 3 screens in a metropolis like Mumbai, while a Dharmendra, Shashi Kapoor or Amitabh Bachchan starrer would open at 25 to 30 screens in Mumbai/suburbs.

Today, a Hollywood import, catering to the popular tastes, opens as extensively as a big-budget Hindi film. Times have changed indeed.

The brand new installment of HARRY POTTER was expected to open huge and it did fetch an electrifying start from East to West and from North to South. HARRY POTTER is as popular in India as it's in the West and the idea of dubbing it in local languages [Hindi, Tamil and Telugu] only takes the film to the remotest corners of the country.

JASHNN was expected to start well for various reasons...

* One, Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt's last two films, JANNAT and RAAZ, had worked big time at the ticket window. Everyone was hoping that JASHNN would also start well.

* Two, the music of JASHNN had grown popular prior to its release, which only enhances the curiosity for the film.

* Three, the Bhatts are a brand today; the names are synonymous with qualitative movies.

But box-office is most unpredictable. Serpentine queues were witnessed at plexes, but the mad scramble was for the tickets of HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE, not JASHNN. The opening numbers of JASHNN were shockingly poor and despite a strong word of mouth, JASHNN didn't show a big jump that one expected from the film after a shaky start. The weekend numbers have been disappointing and the weekdays have begun on a gloomy note.

DEKH RE DEKH was DEKH BHAI DEKH till a few days before its release. The dispute over its title prompted its makers to alter the title to DEKH RE DEKH. Unfortunately, this film was also a non-starter.