Fenil and Bollywood

Fenil’s Bollywood Talk # 71

Posted on: October 22, 2009

MM

DDLJ ENTERS ITS 15 YEAR; STILL RUNNING SUCCESSFULLY IN MUMBAI!

One of the best Bollywood films of all time, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ) has been running since its release in 1995 at the Maratha Mandir theatre in Mumbai! Very surprisingly, the solo 11:30 am show of DDLJ still gets viewers and during weekends, it is easily 70-100% full! It was released on October 20, 1995 and this Tuesday, it entered into its 15th year!

However, a lot of doubts have been raised as to how such an old film still manages to get audience. Some say that Yash Raj Films, the producers of DDLJ, are forcefully running the movie at Maratha Mandir to create a record. But none of this is true and I can vouch for that as I myself have gone to see DDLJ couple of time there. Some of the reasons for DDLJ’s successful running:

1. OUTSTANDING ENTERTAINER: DDLJ is a sweet well-made feel good film that has its heart at the right place. It was a cult film at that time as it managed to place something interesting before the audience and at the same time, didn’t trudge a different path. And SRK’s mind-blowing performance created frenzy among the females. You can find many (males too) who have seen the film more than 30/40/50/100 times and are ready to watch it again! Thus, it’s a film which almost any moviegoer can watch it anytime!
2. SHAH RUKH KHAN’S CRAZE: Shah Rukh Khan has one of the biggest fans following. So many fans from other cities/countries that are on a visit to Mumbai make it a point to watch DDLJ at Maratha Mandir!
3. TICKET PRICING: The rates of DDLJ’s show are damn cheap. Balcony tickets cost Rs 22, Dress Circle tickets are priced at Rs 20 while stall tickets are available for Rs 18. With such low rates, it becomes damn affordable for anyone, even for the poorer sections living nearby, to watch DDLJ many times!
4. LOCATION OF MARATHA MANDIR: The theatre is situated opposite Mumbai Central Railway Station, the southernmost terminus in Mumbai on Western Railway. Many travelers who reach the station in the morning but have a late afternoon train to catch decide to watch the film in order to pass their time! Even though Apsara, Novelty, Minerva theatres aren’t very far from the station, travelers still prefer watching DDLJ. Also, the hawkers, vendors and other poor people working/dwelling near Maratha Mandir go for it as for them it’s the ultimate entertainment. Other single screens nearby have closed and they can’t afford multiplex tickets. So they prefer watching DDLJ due to cheap ticket rates and also because the film never bores!
5. CURIOSITY: I know many who stay far away in the suburbs of Mumbai but have gone to watch DDLJ out of curiosity and amusement that the film is still running!

Some 6-7 years back, even I found it difficult to believe that the film managed to get audience in each show. But then, DDLJ is a magical film. Also, when I had gone to see DDLJ in its 500th week, I was surprised to see that people who were there in the show (it was housefull) were so engrossingly watching the film. They knew the film perfectly as they had seen it many times and they could have cracked jokes and passed stupid comments in emotional scenes, as masses generally do. But they didn’t and were shanti se seeing it! DDLJ, indeed, is much more than magical, I guess! Whatever it is, it rocks and I hope it keeps running forever!
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MAMKACCEPT THAT YOU GUYS MADE A BAD FILM!

Blue and All The Best have done a great job at the BO but the 3rd Diwali release, Main Aurr Mrs Khanna (MAMK) have failed miserably. The film could neither impress the critics nor the audiences. Director Prem Soni gave two reasons for film’s debacle-first, the producers made a mistake for going easy on the film’s publicity and second, there was a general resentment against the film and attempt was made to sabotage it! Producer Sohail Khan, on the other hand, blames the co-producer of the film, UTV, for releasing the film during Diwali with Blue and All The Best. According to him, MAMK wasn’t perfect Diwali stuff and that people want to watch comic films in the festive time (Ironically, Prem Soni a month ago was heard saying that Diwali is the perfect time for MAMK!). He wanted the film to release next year during Valentine’s Day.

Both Sohail and Prem are giving different and contradictory reasons but none of them are ready to accept that they made a bad film. Even if the publicity was low-key, the film had made its presence felt. And regarding the point that attempt was made to flop the film; I don’t buy it at all. Go and ask viewers who saw the film-they all were disappointed. So, the word-of-mouth wasn’t good and that’s why the film failed. Sohail’s reasoning also isn’t justified. A bad film is going to flop whether it’s released in Diwali or on Valentine’s Day or during any other fest. Also, during 2004 Diwali, Veer-Zaara and Aitraaz had occupied almost all shows in theatres and also the headlines. Yet, Mughal-E-Azam, released simultaneously with these two films with very less prints, managed to grow and do a great job at the BO.

At such times, my respect for Ram Gopal Verma increases! He’s the only one who accepts that his film wasn’t upto the mark. He went to the point to say that those who liked his Sholay-remake Aag are mental patients! Kudos to RGV!

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