By Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama News Network
RGV can finally heave a sigh of relief. The maverick film-maker was going through a rough patch and sadly, had become everyone's favourite punching bag. Only goes to show that howsoever talented you may be, if you can't deliver a hit, you're not in the running. Hit hain to fit hain, that's the mantra everyone follows in the industry.
That PHOONK blew away all oppositions and emerged the first choice this weekend is known to all and sundry by now. That it has been maintaining 40% to 50% occupancy on week days is also an eye-opener for many.
What worked? Smart marketing? Well, if smart marketing was the mantra to success then every second Hindi film would've worked at the ticket window. The ratio of flops wouldn't be what it is today. Sure, the Rs. 5 lacs reward for watching it all alone did generate curiosity, but that would've only helped on the opening day. Thereafter, the content did the talking.
Now let's look at the economics of PHOONK. Made at a shoe-string budget by RGV [Rs. 3 cr.], his partner Azam Khan's One More Thought pumped an additional Rs. 3 cr. on prints and promotion, which should easily be recovered in its first week itself. I expect the film to remain steady in Week 2 as well. Plus, the Satellite and Home Video revenue as also the international dubbing rights would only be a bonus.
In terms of investment and returns, PHOONK is a major success story. The talk in the industry is, even a crow can draw in audiences, provided there's a story to tell. How true!
MUMBAI MERI JAAN won sparkling reviews [deserves every bit of lavish praise heaped on it] and the word of mouth was equally strong. UTV's strategy of giving it a multiplex-only release [95 prints in the first round; limited 2/3 shows everyday] worked at 'A' class centres like Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and South India.
The weekend showed a meteoric rise at these centres and contributed to 45%-50% of the revenue generated. At other centres, despite excellent word of mouth, the jump in its business was missing.
I genuinely feel that a film like MUMBAI MERI JAAN deserves to be tax-exempted. It ought to be watched by every citizen. And tax-exemption will only take this deserving film places. Full marks to Ronnie Screwvala and his enterprising team at UTV for backing this project. Not just the film, even the team behind it deserves lavish praises. From the business point of view, I expect MUMBAI MERI JAAN to hold well in Weekend 2 at metros, but I am confident that this film will make ample moolah from non-theatrical avenues like Satellite and Home Video rights.
Comedy? Ya tragedy? MAAN GAYE MUGHALL-E-AZAM was meant to make people laugh [it did so intermittently], but the distributors would be going red in the faces looking at the daily reports. The scant appreciation, the opposition from PHOONK, the tremendous critical acclaim from MUMBAI MERI JAAN, all hit MAAN GAYE MUGHALL-E-AZAM hard.
As for MY FRIEND GANESHA 2, it should've opened during vacations. Why now? When kids are busy packing their bags to school?