Truth is bitter, neither khatta nor meetha

July 26th, 2010

This Friday it was proved again that there is no substitute for good content. According to trade pundits, response to the Akshay Kumar-starrer Khatta Meetha has been mixed and on opening day the film had around 50 per cent occupancy across theatres.
 
In comparison two small Bollywood films, Udaan and Tere Bin Laden, which released last Friday with relatively less fanfare, are catching up on the back of good content.
“Tere Bin Laden is a success story. It has collected approximately Rs 5.61 crore in the first week. The returns from theatrical and non-theatrical avenues should ensure profits to its distributors and also its producers,” said film trade analyst Taran Adarsh.. According to industry estimates, the cost of the film is Rs 6 crore.

Debutant director Vikramaditya Motwane’s Udaan which opened to low occupancy, has also picked up, say exhibitors. “Both Udaan and Tere Bin Laden had occupancy rates of around 55 per cent during the opening weekend but considering they are small-budget films, they are doing well,” said Devang Sampat, Cinemax India president – sales, marketing and operations.
 
“Udaan collected Rs 2.50 crore in the first week. The cost of the film is around Rs 5 crore. The satellite rights have been sold to Colors for Rs 3.5 crore. Sale of music rights to T-Series and home video rights to Disney together will fetch around Rs 75 lakh. The theatrical revenue from India will be around Rs 1.5 crore and other rights and overseas revenue combined will fetch another Rs 50 lakh. The recovery is around Rs 6.25 crore, which means a 25 per cent return on investment, said Adarsh.
 
Udaan was the only Indian film to be officially selected for the prestigious 63rd Cannes Film Festival this year.
 
Vishal Kapur, CEO, Fun Cinemas, said, “Word-of-mouth publicity for both Udaan and Tere Bin Laden has been very strong and the number of people watching the film has gone up in the week.”

Meanwhile, Hollywood director Christopher Nolan’s Inception leads at the box office. “Inception opened much better than the three Hindi films (including Lamhaa starring Sanjay Dutt and Bipasha Basu), with a 75 per cent occupancy, during the opening weekend,” Sampat said. Distributed by Warner Brothers India, Inception, released in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, collected approximately Rs 9.6 crore in its first week.

Sampat says one of the reasons for the Leonardo Di Caprio-starrer doing better than the Hindi films is because of its wider release. “The dubbed version of the film has garnered good collections,” said Sampat.

Lamhaa, a big-budget film, has been another victim of average content. The film had a wide release but managed to collect around Rs 8.5 crore. At its present rate, the film will entail huge losses to its producers.
 
Whether or not films have big stars and irrespective of picturesque locales, Hindi film audiences seem to be embracing good content. It is a sure positive for independent film-makers.