Posts Tagged ‘Ramesh Sippy’
Rohan Sippy’s film requires three leading men. While two of them, Abhishek Bachchan and Pratik Babbar, have been finalised there is another crucial third character, whose role is parallel to that of Abhishek.
Apparently, Abhishek and Farhan Akhtar were the first choices for the two parts and since director Rohan Sippy, Abhishek and Farhan are childhood friends, no one saw any problems in the casting.
|Farhan Akhtar||Abhishek Bachchan|
Rohan’s film is being produced by his father Ramesh Sippy, a close family friend of Farhan’s father Javed Akhtar.
Although both Rohan Sippy and Farhan Akhtar remained unavailable for comment, a source close to the project said, “Farhan was indeed the first choice to play Abhishek’s co-star. The on-screen partnering was patterned on those Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor films that Farhan’s father once wrote. Farhan declined the offer, much to the dismay of Rohan’s team, which hadn’t thought of anyone else.”
Since the role is as important as Abhishek’s, Rohan and Abhishek have now zeroed in on John Abraham for the same role.
“The problem with Abhishek-John is that audiences will immediately think of Dhoom where again, Abhishek played an undercover cop, as he does in Rohan’s film. Rohan’s film is not a light bantering caper like Dhoom. It’s dark and does an expose on the drug racket in Goa which ends with one of the principal politician characters being exposed as the kingpin,” said the source.
MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; November 28, 2009)
Pratik says, “My filmmakers be it Sanjay Leela or Rohan will do all the talking about their films. I’m under a contract and unable to say much.”
The star son, however, clears the air about a controversy that said he kept Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan waiting on the sets of Kiran Rao’s Dhobi Ghat because he was holidaying in Goa. “I haven’t been to Goa in five years,” says Pratik. “I may be young, restless and even stupid but I would never keep a senior actor like Aamir waiting.” Brickbats be damned, then. It will rain bouquets in Pratik’s backyard on his birthday, today!
2009 has been a very bad year for UTV. After three films — What’s Your Rashee?, Main Aur Mrs Khanna and Kaminey — failed to set the cash registers ringing, they were heavily banking on Karan Johar’s Kurbaan, directed by Rensil D’Silva.
But their hopes of having a hit were dashed with Kurbaan proving to be a turkey at the box-office.UTV had bought the film from Karan for about Rs 50 crore and released it across 1,700 screens.
One could understand if the audience gave it a thumbs down after watching it. However, the shocker is that the film didn’t even get a good opening when it released on November 20. Despite being a solo release, it barely managed 35 per cent occupancy on the first day. The box-office collections thereafter have been far from encouraging, flattering reviews from film critics notwithstanding.
Endorsing the fact that the film did not register more than 40 per cent collections in its first three days, trade analyst Amod Mehra says, “Shockingly, the collections on Sunday were even less than that on Friday and Saturday. The film is a big blow to Dharma Productions and UTV. “
Mehra adds, “People are not interested in seeing terrorism any longer. New York did fairly well but that’s because it wasn’t publicised as a film based on terrorism. It looked like a very youthful film with fun elements by John and Katrina. The entire publicity of Kurbaan was wrong. If the heroine of Kurbaan doesn’t want her mother to see her steamy scenes with her boyfriend, how can one go with family members to see such a film?”
Distributor Ramesh Sippy says cautiously, “I don’t want to make any assessment. But yes, Kurbaan has not lived up to its expectations.”
We also spoke to some of the theatre officials. Manoj Desai (of Maratha Mandir, Gaiety-Galaxy) says, “I registered 80 per cent collections on the first three days whereas it did not go beyond 40 per cent in other theatres. However, the collections have nosedived since yesterday. Koi picture dekhne ke liye tayyar hi nahin hai. The overall feeling is that it’s a very serious and cruel film.”
An official from Cinemax, Andheri, says, “We had expected that this film would rake in around 85-90 per cent collections. But from day one, we knew that it wouldn’t be a hit. First day, we registered only 40-45 per cent collections. People have not related to the film, it has no repeat value. On Saturday and Sunday, we recorded only 50 per cent ticket sales.”
Vikram Varma, Fun Republic, communications manager, says, “We recorded 35 per cent in the first three days. But today (Monday), we only have 15-20 per cent occupancy. I think that too many films were released in the past few weeks and this has adversely affected Kurbaan.”
We then spoke to the public to find out why they haven’t gone kurbaan over Kurbaan. 23-year old Eka Lakhani from Lokhandwala says, “I was dying to see Kurbaan as I had heard a lot about it. The film started very well, but soon I realised that there was neither any love story nor any terrorism track. Kareena and Saif got lost in the second half and I had to look for their scenes together. The terrorism part wasn’t explained well either.”
34-year-old Menka Chandiramani from Seven Bungalows says, “I was quite impressed by Kareena and Vivek’s acting but the film hasn’t stayed with me. It had nothing new to offer. Moreover, I wonder why there was so much brouhaha about Kareena and Saif’s sex scenes. We have seen much more than this in Hindi films.”
The director of Kurbaan, Rensil D’Silva, put up a brave front. He says that people are trying to bring down his film. “That happens with every new film. But you know, I am getting a lot of calls and text messages from people whom I don’t even know saying that they have enjoyed my film. I am basically a creative guy. The best people to talk about this will be the distributors of Kurbaan (UTV).” However, Siddharth Roy Kapoor, CEO of UTV remained unavailable for comment.
Karan’s first film with UTV, Wake Up Sid raked in average returns but failed to be a profit-making proposition. And the audience’s thanda response to Kurbaan has only made things worse for Dharma and UTV.
Abhishek Bachchan and Rohan Sippy have been best friends and have worked together in films like Kuch Na Kaho and Bluffmaster. Now they are aiming for a hat-trick with their third film, which will go on the floors in January. Incidentally, Abhishek, who had committed to a film with T-Series, will keep his word as the film will be a joint production between Ramesh Sippy and Bhushan Kumar.
Our source said, “Both Abhishek and Amitabh Bachchan were committed to a film with T-Series. Back then, Priyadarshan was supposed to make the film, however T-Series went ahead with Bhool Bhulaiya. After that, Amitabh too opted out as his dates were blocked. However, Abhishek has kept his word and now that Rohan Sippy is ready with his untitled thriller, talks are on to make it a joint production. This way, Abhishek will be able to fulfill both – his commitment made to T-Series as well as his buddy Rohan.”
Rohan Sippy confirmed the story, but was not forthcoming about the joint venture. He said, “Yes, we are set to start the film in December end or January. Everything is locked and we are in the process of finalising the ensemble cast. However, as far as the tie-up with T-Series is concerned, my father (Ramesh Sippy) is the best person to answer the question. As far as I know, we are surely doing the music with them and Pritam is the music director.”
Speaking about the film, Rohan said, “It has an interesting mix of actors with Abhishek in the lead. It is a thriller.”
Bhushan Kumar of T-Series said, “Talks are on for a joint production, but nothing is finalised as of now. The only decision we have taken is that we will be doing the music of the film.”
|Two-and-a-half months after the historic judgment between producers and multiplexes the first cracks within have begun to appear. Ajay Devgan, who wants to release All The Best, may have to shell out Rs 50 lakh if he wants his film to hit the theatres on October 16, the same day as Aladin, Blue and Main aur Mrs Khanna.
According to our source, the United Producers and Distributors Forum (UPDF) had decided that they will fix the release dates of films till November this year and anybody who goes against their decision will be fined.
Commenting on why Ajay is keen on releasing All The Best on October 16, the source said, “Diwali is the best time to get the audience to the theatres.”
Ajay’s spokesperson said, “We cannot comment on this issue.” However, an insider from Ajay’s office said, “We are releasing All The Best on October 16. 50 lakh bharna pada, toh bhar denge. Yes, we are aware there is a clause, which states that if we go against the UPDF’s decision we’ll have to cough up Rs 50 lakh. But we hear that one of the three films may not release on that day, in which case we will be free to release our film.”
Distributor Ramesh Sippy, who is part of UPDF, said, “After the producer-multiplex fight was resolved, it was agreed that the release dates will be decided by the principal body. There is a certain amount of fine that has to be paid to UPDF, but the amount has not been fixed. If Ajay releases All The Best, he will have to pay the UPDF. The makers have been told all this clearly but they believe that Main Aur Mrs Khanna will not release on October 16, and that is how they will be able to release their film on that date.”
President of Association of Motion Picture & TV Programme Producers, Ratan Jain, who too is part of UPDF, said, “I don’t think Ajay will release All The Best on October 16. He has given us in writing that he will go ahead only if one of the three releases scheduled for October 16 falls through. Even I am ready with my film, De Dana Dan and would like to release it on October 16. But we do need to understand that every big film needs a decent release in terms of screening.”
Mukesh Bhatt, Chairman of UPDF, said, “Why should Ajay pay us? We are here to help people and not for extortion. Some of our people have advised Ajay not to release All The Best on October 16. Where will he release the film? On the roads? Moreover, how many films can a person see on a Friday or over the weekend? But if somebody has decided to commit suicide, you can’t stop them, can you?”
Nothing official yet, but the war between film producers and multiplex owners is finally over. The two warring parties have kissed and made-up.
Evidently, it was the producers who first blinked. An industry insider said, “The final settlement reads 50 per cent in the first week, 42.5 per cent in the second week and 35 per cent revenue in the third week for the producer of all films.” It may be recalled that the key demand by producers was a 50 per cent revenue share for all films for all weeks while the exhibitors wanted a performance-linked arrangement where the revenue split would depend on the audience response. As losses mounted for industries which are directly related to the film business, the strike also wreaked havoc on ancillary industries like television, media, home video, music, radio and news which are highly dependant on movie content. Time and again, the warring parties met at Yash Raj Studios, Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s office and even five-star hotels to settle matters. But, even after several heated arguments, the multiplex owners had consented to offer 50 per cent in the first week, followed by 42.5 per cent and 32.5 per cent revenue during subsequent weeks after the release day. As for the producers, they had categorically said they would settle for no less than 50 per cent, 45 per cent and 40 per cent revenue. They too refused to budge.
The settlement was reached during a meeting on Wednesday night held at a Bandra five-star hotel. The meeting was attended by Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Ronnie Screwvala, Yash Chopra, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Sunil Lulla and Amit Khanna (who represented the multiplexes) among others. As things stand today, films will start releasing in multiplexes from Friday, June 5.
Giving out additional information, a source said, “If the film does more than Rs 70 crore nett business, the multiplex will give 2 per cent extra revenue to the producers.”
Yesterday evening, Tushar Dhingra, COO, Adlabs Cinemas, said, “I can’t talk now. I am busy.”
Distributor Ramesh Sippy said, “What you have heard about some kind of settlement is partially correct. But I am in a meeting right now. I will talk to you later.”
Mahesh Bhatt too confirmed that some kind of a settlement had been reached. “I was a neutral observer at the meeting. The worst is behind us. But I am not supposed to give you any details until the entire paperwork regarding this matter is completed. You will have a clear picture by tomorrow. We will not uncork the champagne till then,” he said.
The standoff is estimated to have cost the Industry nearly Rs 300 crore. There has been no new Hindi film in the multiplexes in the past seven weeks except for some non-starters. The United Producers and Distributors Forum (UPDF) had taken a stand to not release any new film in multiplexes from April 4 and had even threatened to release their films in single screens starting May.
Trade analyst Taran Adarsh said, “You cannot discount the huge expenditure incurred by the multiplex owners who did not shut down their theatres during this tussle period. They had to shell out high rents, salaries to their employees and projection costs. Multiplex owners lost far more than the producers did.”
The occupancy rate in multiplexes has dropped to a meager 10-12 per cent since April first week, making it one of the worst periods for them. A visit to a multiplex in the western suburbs yesterday by Mumbai Mirror saw that they were selling only one burger at the refreshment counter. When asked about it, the salesman at the counter said, “Do burger bikega nahin. How can I keep more than one?” That says it all.
While at least 30 big multi-crore films are due for release, there are just twenty seven Fridays in 2009 to accommodate them.
Do the math and imagine what will happen at the box-office when there are multiple releases. It’s a lose-lose situation.
Including today, there are 34 Fridays remaining this year. But according to conventional film wisdom, major films don’t release during Ramzan, Shraddh, Navratri or Ganpati as those are the periods when the public is otherwise occupied. These account for seven Fridays (The period of Shraddh this year falls during the holy month of Ramzan). This leaves only 27 Fridays.
Surprisingly, producers don’t seem too rattled.
Rakesh Roshan who has his most expensive project till date, Kites, ready, does not deny that there could be a problem. However, he is optimistic. Putting on a brave front, he says, “I don’t think we’ll have a problem. I am not worried about Kites and I am not worried about any other film that is slated to release in 2009. Time heals, this time will be no exception.”
Sajid Nadiadwala too is not spending sleepless nights. He says, “There will be a problem, there will be a rush. But it will be amicably sorted. Certain companies like Eros International and UTV, which have quite a few films waiting to release this year, won’t release all those films. There is a lot of money involved and a producer has to wait for the distributors to give the green signal. In short, I am saying that all the films, which have been lined up for this year, will not necessarily release. Some of them will definitely be pushed back.”
However, trade analyst Taran Adarsh has many fears.
He says, “It’s going to be a very tough year. There will be Fridays, which will see four to five films releasing. It’s going to be a big circus. The producers will have a very tough time. The writing is on the wall. Lekin har producer sochta hai ki meri film Sholay hai, aur mujhe kya darr hai. Sabko apna beta pyaara hota hai na?”
He adds, “There are many pluses and minuses, the viewer will have a variety to choose from, but who is going to watch five films a week? The common man has no time, money and inclination to see so many films.”
However, Adarsh too ends on an optimistic note. He says, “Let’s hope that the quality of these films is good and the collections do not suffer drastically.”
Distributor Ramesh Sippy says, “Certain changes in schedule are bound to take place to avoid too much clash. We have worked on that and I don’t think there will be a problem.”
Add to the big films, 40 plus middling ones, and you have over 80 films in all waiting to be accommodated.