Business Talk with Taran Adarsh: How the mighty fell - Delhi 6

By Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama News Network

By now, everyone knows that DELHI 6 has proved a disappointment. For those who've not been tracking its box-office outcome, you can refer to the 'Opening' and 'Midweek' response to the film.

The question is, how has DELHI 6 performed on weekdays? Did it fall heavily? Monday was part holiday, yet the film fell at several plexes where it was holding fort. At most single screens, well, if the opening weekend numbers ranged between 15% - 25% across the country, you can easily guess the kind of business it would do on weekdays. There has been a sharp decline from Monday/Tuesday onwards.

The verdict is loud and clear: DELHI 6 has under-performed in India.

What does it mean for UTV? DELHI 6 is an expensive proposition and in view of the fact that the business is seeing a downward pattern, the distributors should end up losing money. Of course, it's a bit too early to gauge the quantum of loss, but seeing the low tide, it's evident that the distributors would find it difficult to recover its costs.

Sometimes, it's not the film, but the price that fails. In this case, the film as also its price has failed.

What does it mean for Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra? There's no denying that Rakeysh is a fantastic technician, who knows the craft well. But he has been letdown by the screenplay this time. Also, every film-maker needs to study the viability of the actor before he spends an 'x' amount on a project. Rakeysh should also take a note of it.

What does it mean for Abhishek Bachchan? DRONA [solo Abhishek starrer] was an unmitigated disaster, DOSTANA was an average success [although there are reports that the distributors haven't recovered the huge price they paid for its rights] and now DELHI 6, again a solo hero film, has under-performed in India. His ratings are sure to go down after DELHI 6.

Abhishek set a new world record for maximum public appearances in 12 hours while promoting the film. But the trade would've only jumped with joy if his movies set records at the box-office.

THE CURIOUS CASE OF GROSS FIGURES

At the slightest opportunity, some producers start flaunting the gross figures of their movies. Why not nett figures? I doubt if some producers even know the difference between gross and nett figures. Or are gross figures circulated to paint a rosy picture of the movie, since the figures tend to look big and the gullible public might get swayed by these numbers?

Okay, let me explain. A few weeks ago, the makers of CHANDNI CHOWK TO CHINA were screaming from rooftops that the film had done Rs. 45 cr. gross in its opening weekend. Those outside the industry bought the story [including some self-proclaimed analysts and also two-pence-worth websites], not wanting to ask the producers what the nett figure was.

Now Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's text-message to this writer claims DELHI 6 has done "more than Rs. 22 cr. Gross" in its opening weekend in India, while an official statement from UTV claims that the film has "grossed Rs. 27.50 crores in 3 days across 945 screens in India. "

I am confused. Who should one believe? Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra or UTV? Can there be such a big difference between the gross figures circulated by the producers of the same film? What does one make of it? Strange, very strange!

If we buy Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's figure, it means that DELHI 6 has collected Rs. 14 - Rs. 16 cr. nett in its opening weekend, which in turn means that the distributors' share is approx. Rs. 7 cr. - Rs. 8 cr. What eventually comes in the distributors' kitty makes sense. And in this case, Rs. 7 cr. [distributors' share] wouldn't look attractive by any means, if the figure has to be circulated to the media. Right?

It's high time everyone starts circulating nett collections. And let's hope there's uniformity in figures every time the producers of a film issue a statement!

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