By Hindustan Times
New Delhi, April 6 -- This quarter, content is the undisputed king in Bollywood. The box-office report for the year's first three months shows that of the 30 films that released between January and March, Kahaani and Paan Singh Tomar, made on a shoe-string budget, became superhits, much ahead of starry films such as Agneepath, Agent Vinod and Players.
"The first quarter of 2012 was not at all good for Bollywood. Out of the 30 films, there were only three hits - Kahaani, Paan Singh Tomar and Agneepath. While Agneepath was only an average hit, Kahaani and Paan Singh Tomar were superhits and made more than thrice their investments," says distributor Joginder Mahajan.
The year started with Abbas Mustan's big-budget film Players, starring the likes of Bipasha Basu, Sonam Kapoor and Abhishek Bachchan, but proved to be a dud. Hrithik Roshan-Priyanka Chopra starrer Agneepath, made on an estimated budget of R50-60 crore, recovered its costs with little profit. Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor's R60- crore March release, Agent Vinod, has only made around R37 crore so far.
Trade experts say that two single-star outings winning the game shows that the audience clearly cares most about the script. "Though the first quarter hasn't beenvery fruitful, the success of Kahaani and Paan Singh Tomar has given hope to many small film makers. The fact is if you don't have a big hero in your film, then you have to convert your story into a hero and that seems to be working," says trade analyst Amod Mehra.
While Kahaani cost its makers R8 crores, Paan Singh's production cost R4.5 crore. The films made R48cr and R16cr respectively. ' "Not only the content, even the presentation has to be really strong to ensure that a film does well. For Kahaani, we tried to keep the visual presentation as global as possible," says Kahaani director Sujoy Ghosh. Paan Singh producer Siddharth Roy Kapur says, "This has turned the game upside down. It proves that if the content is good, the films will work."