Content is queen!

By Hindustan Times

Mumbai, April 6 -- Bollywood's usually lack-lustre first quarter has ended on a surprise high in 2012 with Kahaani emerging as the biggest earner with net collections of R55.50 crore on an investment of R5 crore. "It currently ranks No. 5 on the IMDB box-office list of all-time biggest grossers," says the film's director Sujoy Ghosh, attributing its appeal to the global format that has worked with the audience that is more exposed to world cinema today.

Kahaani, however, Sujoy admits, is everything a commercial Bollywood film shouldn't be. It has no big names apart from Vidya Balan. It has come during, what is traditionally considered an infertile period with exams keeping young audiences away. And it is a thriller, which usually doesn't lure in crowds for second viewing as the mystery has been revealed.

But its success has busted some popular trade myths and superstitions, says Sunil Punjabi, CEO, Cinemax. "It continues to perform in its fourth week, breaking records across the country. In some theatres, it's getting even more footfalls than Ready (2011)."

Agneepath has also made it to the hit list thanks to a strong opening. Its sustaining power has helped it gross R125 crore to date. "Karan Johar (producer) has proved that you don't need to remake hits. You can remake flops and by ensuring you don't repeat the shortcomings, you can make a blockbuster out of a debacle," points out trade analyst Komal Nahta.

The number of hits during this three-month period has not been too high, but three films Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu (EMAET), Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya and Paan Singh Tomar have managed to spring some pleasant surprises. Says Gaurav Verma, VP, India theatrical distribution, UTV, "Paan Singh Tomar, which was made on a budget of R4.50 crore with an additional R3.50 crore spent on print and publicity has, to date, done a business of R20 crore on theatricals. EMAET has grossed R53 crore to date." Says trade analyst Taran Adarsh, "It's been good with all these three films; the two major setbacks being Players and Agent Vinod."

Hollywood too hasn't had a great run so far with only The Artist from the Oscar list finding some takers among film connoisseurs. But there's a lot to look forward to with big franchises like the Men In Black, Spider-man, Bond and Total Recall on the way. Meanwhile, it's still Kahaani spinning a new box-office story and, as Sujoy puts it, proving that content is not just king, but queen too!

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