Fenil and Bollywood

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Himesh Reshammiya and Radio producer Ravi Agarwal have been buying tickets in bulk just to show that their film is making money

By Sonal Chawla (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 08, 2009)


Is Himesh Reshammiya his own biggest fan? Buzz is that he is himself buying tickets of his recently released Radio. Though hundreds of tickets have been sold (or bought) there are just a handful of viewers in the cinema halls. Fact is that Radio, which released on December 3, Thursday, is faring abysmally at the box-office.

Manoj Desai of G7 multiplex said, “Someone comes to my theatre and does block booking. Har ek show mein block booking hota hai toh management ko tajjub hota hai aur accha bhi lagta hai ki jaa rahi hai tickets.”

However Himesh emphatically denies the allegation. “It’s a false allegation just to prove that some tickets are being bought by the production house or my people. The tickets can be bought directly from the manager if the production guys want them. Anyway, what difference will a few tickets make in the overall impact of the collection. It’s baseless, that all I can say. The producer has recovered his cost even before the film’s release and it is a target-audience film, where my performance has been appreciated. There is no need to prove any theatre collections to make it a hit. There is no reason to do so by anyone.”

A famous suburban multiplex’s manager revealed, “Radio is a very bakwaas film and if such radio jockeys are born, then all our FM stations will shut down.”

When quizzed about the production house of Radio buying tickets in bulk, the manager said, “They are buying hundreds of tickets every day just to show that the film is doing well but actually, the theatre is empty. About 20 odd tickets are bought by the public and Himesh buys about hundred tickets. For every show, he buys tickets saying he wants to show the film to his relatives and friends. One day Himesh’s men come, the other day someone from the producer’s end comes to buy tickets while on the third day somebody from the actress’s side buys tickets in bulk. No one really comes to watch the film. The theatre is empty as no one (associated with those who are part of the film) comes to see it even for free. They are barely 20-25 people in the theatre.”

When asked how he knows that the ticket buyers are sent by Himesh, the manager replied, “Unke chamchon ke zabaan pe lagaam nahin hai. Even my booking guys are very smart, they ask for letters if one does bulk booking. That’s when they end up saying that the tickets are being bought for Himesh’s relatives and friends.”

When asked why his staff asks for letters, he said, “We normally don’t do bulk bookings. Samjho 100 aatankwadi aagaye toh the end ho gaya na?”

When we called producer Ravi Agarwal to know the collections of Radio, he said, “The collection is superb. Mumbai has got a good collection almost 75-80 per cent. People thought Himesh was a single theatre hero but he is doing very well in multiplexes too.”

When asked if he has done corporate bookings or bought bulk tickets, Agarwal said, “I have notdone any bookings. We had to give tickets to our media partners.” Are tickets being bought by people from his production house? “I am not that big a producer to make a film and also only buy its tickets. These are rumours,” he said.

When we spoke to another multiplex manager to know the collection of Radio, he said, “Friday saw 54 per cent and Saturday 47 per cent.”

Are the theatres empty, despite tickets being bought in bulk? “People are coming but the number of people coming in is not equal to the number of tickets being sold. Sometimes it happens that the people distribute the tickets but often people don’t turn up. We can’t predict that.”

“We manage to get the collections and whatever tickets are sold out, irrespective of people turning up or not, he is paying us cash and we are earning money. We don’t exactly ask who comes to buy tickets.”

Yusuf M Sheikh, the Mumbai distributor, said, “It is a very decent film and has picked up really well over the weekend. Friday morning was a little slow because there was a Thursday night paid preview. It tends to happen that when one watches a movie on a Thursday night, Fridays are slow. I am not saying it has done an excellent job but has picked up very well on Saturday, Sunday and has got a nice collection.”

When quizzed about theatre being empty and bulk bookings being done by the production house, Sheikh said, “Are you mad? I don’t know who is telling you these stories? What makes you think so? This is not the case at all. Tell me which corporates have bought these tickets. I’ll give them my next film also. If that were the case then Radio would have major collections everywhere. I have visited each and every theatre and this was not the case anywhere.”

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RADIO v/s PAA

This weekend will see the release of two diverse films, Paa and Radio. The best thing about both films is its cost-both films are made at a reasonable cost and should not find it difficult to recover it. My take on these films:

PAA:
Undoubtedly, Paa will be the first choice of moviegoers. Directed by Balki (Cheeni Kum) and music composed by Illaiyaraja, Paa has aroused a lot of curiosity. By now, it’s a very common knowledge that Amitabh Bachchan plays the role of a 12 year old suffering from progeria in the film. He looks unique and completely unrecognizable in his new look. Big B has even altered his voice to suit his 12 year old character and it rocks completely. He has even sung the title song of the film in that changed voice which is a treat to hear! To hear Auro (name of BigB in Paa) speak click here.

Besides the chance to see Amitabh in a never before seen avatar, the other USP of the film is Abhishek Bachchan playing Amitabh’s father! The film also stars Vidya Balan and Paresh Rawal as Auro’s mother and grandfather respectively. The film is being promoted innovatively. 2 days back, Amitabh Bachchan and Vidya Balan were on Radio Mirchi FM and spoke as the characters of the film. Listeners were asking questions to Auro (i.e. Amitabh) about his life and he answered wonderfully! It was just brilliant!

Without a shred of doubt, the film will be lauded with appreciation, especially for the performance of Amitabh, Abhishek and Vidya. However, the film has also got some negative reactions from a section of audiences who feel that Big B’s look is horrible and they can’t bear watching him as ‘an ugly child’ for 2 ½ hours. Also, the film should get a good response to sustain in theatres. And if that happens, then there would be no stopping for this film! In fact, I am expecting a Taare Zameen Par-type craze for Paa. Let’s hope for the best!

RADIO:
In an interview, 2 days back to Bollywood Hungama, Himesh Reshammiya shared how he wanted his previous disastrous film, Karzzzz to release on another date. That’s because the producers planned its release on October 17, 2008. 17 equals to 8 (1+7=8) which is Himesh’s unlucky number. But the producers didn’t listen to him and released it on 17th. And then Karzzzz flopped in spite of adding 3 extra ‘z’ in the title for ‘numerlogical reasons’. I really laughed reading this part. Is Himesh trying to say that Karzzzz would have succeeded if it had released on another date? The film was a disaster in all respects and would have flopped even if it had released on some other date or if 100 more ‘z’ was added in the title! Besides having a faulty script and direction, it had a very high cost (reported to be around Rs 40 crores). It was obvious that it would have been impossible to recover this amount. And as expected, the film barely recovered about half of its cost!

But Radio, that releases today, is a safer bet. The film is made at a reasonable cost-6 crores. The film has already recovered this amount from other sources. But to get the prestige of being hailed as a hit, the film’s theatrical collections should exceed 6 crores. It’s difficult to say whether this can happen as Radio has a terrific competition in the form of Paa. Also, the film is an urban love story and is targeted at the multiplex junta, who don’t ‘worship’ Himesh like the masses do! So as of now, nothing can be said about the fate of Radio.

But Himesh is confident because the film is releasing on Thursday 3rd as 3 is his lucky number! He has more faith in numbers than the script of the film. Last time, when Karzzzz bombed inspite of all numerological precautions, he blamed the producer and the wrong release date. Let’s see who he will blame this time, in case Radio flops! But I hope it works and all the best to its entire team!

WHICH FILM ARE YOU MOST INTERESTED IN? DO LET ME KNOW!
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E-PIRATES MOURN AT MININOVA’S CLEAN UP ACT

E-pirates are a disgruntled lot ever since Mininova went on a Clean-up act. Mininova is the most popular website when it comes to downloading movies, songs, games and other stuff. Every new film used to be available on the site a day after the release or at times, on the day itself. Further, all downloads were safe and didn’t carry any virus. Hence, it was the most preferable website for millions of net users.

Needless to mention, downloading stuff on Mininova were illegal and last week after they lost a civil dispute, the website announced that it’ll share only those movies that are uploaded through Content Distribution Service. Thus, they deleted all illegal stuff which was there in their database. This has proved as a setback for all those who never used to venture in theatres but instead used to watch films on their PC through Mininova.

It is difficult to say whether this step will prove beneficial for our producers and distributors. No one can can say for sure whether these e-pirates would start frequenting cineplexes to watch movies. There were many factors why these people chose Mininova instead of theatres and these factors still exist, the biggest one being the inflated ticket prices. No effort has been done to slash ticket rates and in fact, the prices are increasing. Also, there are many other websites like Mininova (though not safe) from where one can still download films! So unfortunately, piracy will continue to thrive even in the absence of Mininova.

This post first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/diary/ccbhuqsuo/Fenils-Bollywood-Talk77

Two prominent Bollywood filmmakers — Manmohan Shetty and Bobby Bedi — have spoken against multiplexes and the high price of tickets, saying these two factors could destroy the industry.

Multiplexes killing Bollywood, say filmmakers

“The main culprit to bring down Bollywood are multiplexes,” said Shetty, who started the trend of multiplex cinema chains.

“The tickets are priced so high that people who used to watch the movies by paying Rs.30 to Rs.40 are not coming to cinema halls anymore,” Shetty said at a conference, ‘India – The Big Picture’, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

“With high budgets and high priced tickets at multiplexes, film business has become difficult,” he added.

Shetty, who produced movies like ‘GangaaJal’, also said the fees charged by stars have made movie production a tricky business.

“Even though film producers spend Rs.10-15 crore on promotion of films, it is difficult to recover the amount,” he said, adding that a star like Akshay Kumar, who earlier used to charge Rs.1 crore now commands Rs.25 crore.

Film producer Bobby Bedi, in his address at the same conference that was organised on the occasion of the 40th edition of the International Film Festival of India, equated high priced tickets to the Frankenstein monster that would soon “eat us all up”.

“By pricing the tickets high, the industry has created a monster which will eat us all up like Frankenstein,” said Bedi, whose Kaleidoscope Entertainment has produced blockbusters like ‘Saathiya’, ‘Maqbool’ and ‘Bandit Queen’.

“The need today is for us to lower the ticket prices and the cost of production,” he added.

“We shout from the rooftop about making 1,000 films in India every year. But only 84 films out of the 400 films are hits. What happens to the rest of the films and the money invested in them,” he asked.

Bedi also blamed the entry of corporate sector into film business for the unprecedented upswing in production costs and skyrocketing fees of stars.

“For ‘Mangal Pandey’, Aamir Khan was paid a princely sum of Rs.4 crore. In five years, the price could have a zero added to it,” he said.

“Corporates came into the film industry with pots of money. Now that they have made losses, they are exiting the market. Today, corporates are bleeding from the wounds they themselves inflicted.”

Source: IANS

MORE THAN JUST MUSIC: Himesh Reshammiya
The music of his new film’s already a hit, sings Himesh Reshammiya

REAGAN GAVIN RASQUINHA Times News Network (BOBMAY TIMES; September 30, 2009)

It’s easy to see why Himesh Reshammiya struck the goldmine. He’s a perfect combination of sheer creativity and an astute business sense. When he sings, you feel the vibe. On the work front, when he talks, there’s not a wasted word. He gets straight to the point. Himesh is beside himself with excitement about his new film, the hip-looking Radio (which cost only Rs 6 crore to make). His producer Ravi Agarwal is happy too as he has already recovered his initial on the music, satellite and video rights of the film.

Speaking about his strat
egy for the flick, Himesh — who has three back-to-back releases in Kajraare (produced by Bhushan Kumar and directed by Pooja Bhatt), Ishk Unplugged and John Mathews’s A New Love Ishtory after Radio, says, “I requested Ravi to go in for a very different release strategy as the film has been made for a target audience. The theatrical release will be in sync with the sensibilities with which Radio has been made. It has been treated with a very fresh approach and that’s what makes it very different or else, it’s a very simple love triangle set in 2009 with the backdrop of a radio station and an RJ as the protagonist.”

And this certainly seems to have worked. Everyone
associated with this film is earning and earning big. But he also learns from mistakes. “Romcom is the flavour of the film. After going wrong with Karzzzz, I felt that the release strategy should be right. When you talk about a multiplex audience, then Radio cannot be released in a thousand theatres, right? Everything today is about price. Is it a price hit or a price flop? Now that the cost of this film has already been recovered, everything that comes from theatre will only be a profit,” he says. Didn’t we say earlier, that time is money? Well, here’s to the box office singing all the right tunes too!
reagan.gavin@timesgroup.com

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