By Hindustan Times
They came, they declared Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey but alas, in vain. Reason: The audience didn’t exactly throng to theatres for an extensive chapter of India’s fight for freedom that has been relegated to just a couple of sentences in history books. Trade experts peg the opening of the Abhishek Bachchan-Deepika Padukone starrer at 15 to 20 per cent and less, adding that the chances of the collections picking up over the weekend aren’t bright.
Tradesmith Komal Nahta, says the movie is very dry and drab. Asserting that a film’s primary aim is to entertain and not educate, he says, KHJJS fails to arouse patriotic feelings. The dialogue is not soul-stirring and the music too doesn’t help.” Terming it a “terrible letdown,” he adds, “It’s very unfortunate that a director like Ashutosh Gowariker has gone wrong this time.”
Jaipur-based distributor Raj Bansal attributes the slow opening to the film’s genre and lack of publicity. “Ashutosh is a wonderful director, but these kind of patriotic films don’t work in today’s times,” he observes, “The chances of an increase in the ticket sales is rather remote.”
Sharing the same sentiment, Sunil Punjabi, CEO, Cinemax chain of multiplexes, bases his opinion on the audience’s response. “The people’s reaction to it is very average, and I think it comes out of fatigue from the genre. We’ll have to wait and watch the evening and night shows before we can say anything for sure about the collections picking up over the weekend.”
However, no one sounded optimistic about the Rs 45 crore (including prints and publicity) movie to break even. “It could incur a Rs 20 crore loss for the producers,” said a market source on condition of anonymity.
Considering that it’s a hero-dominated industry, it seems Bachchan will be worst hit by the film’s performance at the box-office. Conceding that it’s not good news for the actor, Nahta says that the movie’s commercial failure will have a psychological impact on him. “It’s not that any of his films have taken off to a great start, but Abhishek definitely needs to be very careful and selective about the subjects he takes on henceforth,” he maintains.
Trade analyst Amod Mehra opines that it’s Bachchan’s experimentation with characters and films that have only worked against him.
“The problem with Abhishek is that he’s not doing too much commercial cinema, and his backlog of so-called good cinema has now ended with KHJJS after Delhi 6 and Ravan,” he says, adding that the actor, who has quite a few flops, won’t be impacted by another failure.
“Hopefully, he will bounce back next year with commercial movies like Game, Dum Maaro Dum and Dostana 2.”
Echoing a similar sentiment, Bansal says that the actor should be more selective about the roles and films he takes up now.
“Experimental subjects haven’t worked in his favour. And since he’ll find it hard to draw audiences on his own, he shouldn’t avoid multi-starrers if viable entertainers like Dhoom series are offered to him,” he reiterates. Punjabi stresses that despite another debacle, the actor can’t be written off.
“I’m hearing a strong buzz about Dum Maaro Dum. And there’s Dostana 2 also, which should help change Abhishek’s overall image,” says he, while admitting that the actor’s versatility won’t be evident unless he experiments.