Business Talk with Taran Adarsh: 'Billu' slow despite good feedback

By Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama News Network

First LUCK BY CHANCE, which starred Hrithik Roshan in an extended cameo. Now BILLU, which stars Shah Rukh Khan in an extended special appearance. Compare it with a KRRISH or an OM SHANTI OM, which were riding on the respective stars' popularity. It is evident that the viewer of today can segregate a special appearance and a full-fledged role.

A few decades ago, when Amitabh Bachchan ruled the roost, the viewer knew how dissimilar DON, SHOLAY and AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY were from BEMISAAL, ALAAP and JURMANA. They knew that the first three films were out-and-out masala fares, while the last three films were meaningful/middle of the road cinema.

Talking of LUCK BY CHANCE and BILLU, the viewers knew, much before their release, that the films belonged to other actors [Farhan Akhtar and Irrfan Khan, respectively] and that's one of the reasons why the two films didn't fetch a thunderous start, something that you generally expect from an SRK or a Hrithik Roshan starrer.

There's another reason why BILLU started slow. Generally -- there's data to prove it -- family sagas/socials start slow, but once the word of mouth is favourable, the business shows an escalation with each passing day. In the past, Ravi Chopra's BAGHBAN, Sooraj R. Barjatya's VIVAH, Aamir Khan's TAARE ZAMEEN PAR and Aditya Chopra's RAB NE BANA DI JODI had a lukewarm start at several places, but the films gathered steam gradually.

A similar trend was noticed in the case of BILLU, which had a slow Friday, a robust Saturday and an excellent Sunday. But the film fell on the 'dreaded' Monday [almost every producer has started fearing Mondays, hence the term 'dreaded'].

SRK discussed the price he has sold BILLU at, on my show -- Rs. 35 cr. + Rs. 2 cr. for promotion -- which means that the price is below Rs. 40 cr., definitely not Rs. 50 cr. [a few badly informed sources have been spreading this lie]. One is curious to know if the India theatrical business coupled with the revenue generated from Overseas [good