Magic of small films fading away

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Mumbai, Dec 11 (IANS) Box office failure of small budget films like "Sorry Bhai!", "Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye", "Maharathi" and "Dil Kabaddi" has broken the myth that small is successful.

One after the other the small budget movies are crashing at the box-office, marking doom for their producers. Failures of films have left scars on others associated with these movies, including the actors and writers.

The worst happened during the last two weeks when all the above-mentioned "small-budget" movies -- also including "Meerabai Not Out" -- were released to take advantage of the gap that appeared before the release of the biggies - Shah Rukh Khan starrer "Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi" and "Ghajini" that has Aamir Khan in the main lead - in the coming weeks and fell flat at the box-office without exception.

After the failure of the movies, the producers, who have made these movies on the periphery of Bollywood, find themselves in a piquant situation. They are startled by the outright rejection of their productions by the audience. Failures have set them thinking as to where they have gone wrong.

"Well, they have gone wrong on many fronts," said Komal Nahata, a trade analyst. "First, they erred on the presumption that the box-office success of the last year's release, 'Bheja Fry', was a harbinger of good times for non-star-cast productions.

"When this small budget movie hit the big time at the box-office, it got many producers thinking that the time had come for them to replicate its success. So, they hurriedly put together their productions without bothering to analyse what, actually, had made 'Bheja Fry' click in the first place," Nahata added.

Nahata further said that the success of "Bheja Fry" did more harm to Bollywood than good, as anybody who could raise some finance dreamt of hitting the jackpot by putting together a "Bheja Fry" like production.

"The movie itself became a genre of sort and a host of small time producers misjudged it when they tried to cash in on it," Nahata said.

Yes, the fact that stares them today in the face is that they have become poorer by a few millions, if not more, because the movies they made could not draw even a modicum of good initial revenue. The fate of these movies have already been sealed.

"Sorry Bhai", that released on Nov 28, cut a very sorry figure as it could collect only a few hundred rupees on its opening day in many centres.

Neither was the box-office performance of One More Thought Entertainment's "Dasvidaniya" any better, even though the movie's cast was headed by the "Bheja Fry" actor, Vinay Pathak, who also co-produced it.

UTV's "Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye" starring Abhay Deol, Paresh Rawal, Neetu Chandra and Archana Puran Singh, just about scraped through, but it could not repeat even the marginal success of the company's earlier releases like "Aamir", "A Wednesday" and "Welcome To Sajjanpur".

Ditto is the fate of four small-budget comedies - "Maharathi", "Dil Kabaddi", "Oh, My God!" and "Meerabai Not Out". Each one of them turned out to be a losing proposition.

"Paresh Rawal may be a good actor, among the best Bollywood has at present. But he can't carry a movie on his shoulders. 'Maharathi' proved that amply," trade analyst Vinod Mirani said.

"Extra marital affair is no funny matter in the Indian society, so the audiences cold shouldered 'Dil Kabaddi'. Mandira Bedi is as much a bore in the cricket-based comedy, 'Meerabai Not Out', as she is as a television anchor, over-enthusiastic to the point of giving jitters to the audience," Mirani said.

Added V. Varma: "Inanities cannot be passed off as funny, but that is exactly what director Saurabh Srivastava tries to do in 'Oh, My God!' and pays a price for taking the audience for granted.

"The makers of all these four movies thought they were making 'time pass' entertainers, concocting funny stories without giving any serious thought to the scripts. The truth has now dawned on them that the audience does not laugh without reasons, that to elicit a laugh from them is a serious matter. Amalgamation of funny sequences does not make a comedy."

Bollywood trade circles are unanimous in observing that it is the overconfidence on the part of the directors and producers of these movies and actors working in them that actually forestalled their chances at the box-office.

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