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Badly Burnt In Year Gone By, Industry Looks To Strong Content

Bharati Dubey | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; January 3, 2010)


Pursue excellence and success will pursue you,’’ was what Aamir Khan’s character philosophised in 3 Idiots. But when the lights dimmed and audiences sat down after the National Anthem, what greeted them on screens for most part of the year was average, even poor fare, making 2009 the annus horribilis of the first decade of the 21st century. More than 200 films, with Rs 1500 crore at stake, released last year but almost Rs 1000 crore sank in the sea of mediocrity without a bubble, the sharks-andsexy bikini Blue leading the pack.
Added to it was the multiplex strike which cost around Rs 350 crore, upset release dates forcing films to share Fridays and dent each others’ collections. A multiplex source said, “Cannibalisation caused by big films’ release dates clashing could have been avoided.’’


The year began with Chandni Chowk To China that lost 50% of its Rs 65-crore budget. And marketing blitzkreigs couldn’t save a Blue and Kambakkht Ishq and the audience clearly showed content was king with surprise hits like DevD, New York, WaKe Up Sid and Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani. DevD made Rs 6 crore, collected Rs 25 crore at the box office while its ancillary rights made another Rs 5 crore and there are still more satellite runs to be sold. Trade experts also put films like Love Aaj Kal, Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani, Wanted among the certified hits, followed by profitable films like Paa, All The Best, De Dana Dan and Raaz 2.


But Bollywood’s loss was Hollywood’s gain, with films like 2012 and Avatar (that collected a whopping Rs 50 crore so far) filling the void for good entertainment.


It was left to And Aamir Khan to play Santa Claus third year in a row, with 3 Idiots the biggest hit of the year. It grossed a phenomenal Rs 100 crore in India in the first four days, and Rs 175 crore worldwide till December 31, even denting into collections of Avatar. Trade analyst Amod Mehra said, “What Ghajini collected in a week, this film has done in three days.


Corporates didn’t really have a great year in 2009 and after the bloodbath in the first half of the year, most of them avoided buying films outright, with even 3 Idiots being released on commission.


Thus 2010 dawns to vastly altered realities — purse strings have tightened by cautious corporates; big banners are no guarantee for success and may dish out big turkeys instead; marketing and stars don’t sell, a good story does; and the days of astronomical fees are over.


“Audiences are very smart, the content ultimately will guide their choices and approval. Marketing and hype will only work if content supports that hype. We may not have a Blue this year but projects like Veer and Prince are costly and prima facie look difficult in terms of recoveries,’’ says a trade expert.


So when Akshay Kumar, blamed for soaring star prices, announced towards the end of 2009 that he would not charge any fee for Farah Khan’s Tees Maar Khaan, it was a lifeline for the industry that had almost gone into the ICU.


Says Amod Mehra, “It is not that people did not come to watch Akshay Kumar films in 2009, it is just that the budgets of the films were so high and his remuneration was almost 40% of those budgets, so recoveries were not possible despite a good opening. But now that the actors are looking at sharing profit with the producer after the cost of the film has been recovered like in the case of Aamir Khan’s 3 Idiots then it will be fair enough. Cutting down of star prices will definitely reduce the budget of films and they will become viable and that is definitely going to be the trend in 2010.”


The year thankfully doesnt have a Rs 100-crore Blue in its line-up. Last year most production houses scrapped films as star prices were not viable. In fact, it is learnt Saif Ali Khan is reworking the budget of his next film Agent Vinod starring Kareena and himself. In fact, 2010 is short on mega projects as budget constraints ensured very few got on the floors in 2009.


The first biggie of 2010 will be Veer,
followed by Rann, My Name is Khan, Action Replay, Kites and House Full in the first half of the year. The second half of the year would have Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Guzarish and Patiala House.


The action in 2010 seems definitely more in mid-size and multiplex projects that would have strong and clutterbreaking content. “There are a lot of films this year that may not topline the Khans or Hrithik Roshan but still have a decent line-up of names and would be thematically different. Tight budgets and good content seem to be the mantra in the decision making corridors of Bollywood. Each company is carefully evaluating its options and are not getting carried away,’’ says Priti Shahni of Indian Films. Corporates, for instance, have decided to take films only on commission, and not buy them outright.


Shahid Kapoor’s Chance Pe Dance, Striker starring Rang De Basanti’s Siddharth, Aamir Khan Productions’ Peepli Live, Vishal Bharadwaj’s Ishqiya would release in the first half of 2010.


Generation-next too would be making its presence felt with Ranbir Kapoor in Anjana Anjani and Rajneeti, Imran Khan in I Hate Love Stories, Sonam Kapoor in Ayesha, and Deepika Padukone in House Full.


As the record breaking run of 3 Idiots that has spilled over to 2010 has shown, great content along with great pre-release buzz make the perfect mix.


2010: Coming Soon
RAJNEETI (Naseeruddin Shah, Nana Patekar, Ajay Devgn, Katrina Kaif and Ranbir Kapoor) BUDGET: 50 cr


DHOBI GHAT (Aamir Khan, Prateik Babbar) BUDGET: 15 cr


RAAVANA (Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) BUDGET: 50 cr


TEEN PATTI (Amitabh Bachchan, Sir Ben Kingsley) BUDGET: 35 cr


VEER (Salman Khan, Zarine Khan) BUDGET: 50 cr


RANN (Amitabh Bachchan) BUDGET: 25 cr


ISHQIYA (Vidya Balan, Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi) BUDGET: 20 cr


MY NAME IS KHAN (Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol) BUDGET: 50 cr


KITES (Hrithik Roshan, Barbara Mori) BUDGET: 50 cr


ACTION REPLAY (Akshay Kumar, Aishwarya Rai) | BUDGET: 35 cr


GUZAARISH (Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) BUDGET: 50 cr


ANJAANA ANJAANI (Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra) BUDGET: 40 cr


AGENT VINOD (Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor) BUDGET: 40 cr

Figures are an approximate estimation

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By Joginder Tuteja, December 30, 2009 – 12:16 IST

Kareena Kapoor The likes of Imtiaz Ali, Rajkumar Santoshi, Vishal Bhardwaj, Balki and Prabhu Deva must be feeling disheartened. If only Rajkumar Hirani, Aamir Khan and Co. would have released 3 Idiots a week later, the competition was just amongst the five of them for Love Aaj Kal, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, Kaminey, Paa and Wanted respectively. However, due to the fact that 3 Idiots is a fantastic experience for millions of cine-goers and above all is pretty much fresh in audiences mind, it is the unanimous choice for one and all. Whether it is ‘aam junta’ or industry alike, there is no negative word around this movie. Instead, it has been universally hailed, acclaimed, appreciated and above all respected, which has proved once again that if a film is really well made, all bad blood is forgotten, all negative vibes are kept aside and all competition stays a distance away. Over to the Bollywood folks who (keeping certain exceptions aside) truly believe that 3 Idiots is the film of 2009.

Kareena Kapoor3 Idiots was the best film of 2009.

Sajid Khan – Best movie of the year was Avatar. Reason? It was not a film but an experience.

Shirish Kunder – For the sheer sincerity with which it has been made, 3 Idiots is simply the best by leaps and bound. Aamir has once again proved that he is the ISI mark of good cinema.

Piyush Jha3 Idiots was the best film that 2009 had to offer because it took a very relevant issue and banged home the point. Moreover, the icing on the cake was that it was thoroughly entertaining.

Kalki Koechlin Kalki – Best film of 2009 was Kaminey because it’s a furious and an intelligent film with great performances and music.

Aanand L Rai – For me the best movie in 2009 is 3 Idiots. It boasted of a brilliant screenplay and direction.

Suneel Darshan – 2009 ended on a positive note with two movies – Paa and 3 Idiots. Paa displayed refined performances by Mr. Bachchan and Vidya Balan. On the other hand 3 Idiots is a sincere attempt at entertainment with a soul.

Hasnain Hyderabadwaala – I enjoyed watching Wanted most. It was after a long time that I saw a complete masala film. Total paisa wasool!

Ramesh Taurani – Of course I believe that Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani was the best film of 2009. But so have been 3 Idiots, Paa, Wake Up Sid and Love Aaj Kal. All these films have been hugely entertaining.

Robby Grewal – It’s a one horse race – 3 Idiots.

Sadaa3 idiots was surely the best film of 2009. It was a complete film as it lacked nothing. Moreover, there was some very good message being delivered in an entertaining format.

Vaishali Desai Vaishali Desai – I loved both Avatar and 3 Idiots. Both films belonged to completely different genres. Avatar boasted of some breathtaking special effects and it was an entirely new experience. Whereas 3 Idiots is yet another cult film about the education system from Mr. Hirani.

Raksha Mistry – Call it ironical but the best of 2009 came at the very end. Yes, I am talking about 3 Idiots which is not just the best of 2009 but also one of the finest movies ever in all aspects.

Boney Kapoor – I have heard great things about 3 Idiots but I haven’t seen it yet. Of course Wanted was a complete package as it brought back the concept of hero, something which was in vogue years back when Amitabh Bachchan used to play such characters. Somehow such cinema had become extinct. Amongst other films, I also loved Love Aaj Kal. It’s entire approach was very fresh and everybody performed well. Its music was superb. The film was as mainstream as it gets and was a good blend of the old charm and new thinking. Even Paa was quite exciting. After a really long time came an Amitabh Bachchan film where he could showcase his talent. It was a neat and clean movie that really moved me. Moreover, in spite of having a sad tale on the surface, it was tackled in a very lighter vein. It reminded me of Hrisihikesh Mukherjee at his peak. Watching the film gave me the same feeling as I had when I watched Anand. Since Amitabh Bachchan’s effort didn’t show in the film, that itself reflects that how great an actor he is. Really, Imtiaz and Balki are two filmmakers to look out for. From Hollywood, it was Avatar all the way. I can’t think of a better movie visually. In fact it would take a really long time for anyone to match it technically; it has surpassed all films where technical wizardry and visual appeal is concerned. All the special effects have been taken to a different level altogether with Avatar.

Ken Ghosh – I am on a jury for an award, so I can’t really quote around the best or the worst of the year

Rohit Shetty – Best film of the year is 3 Idiots for sure. It makes you feel so good and happy after watching it.

Jagmohan Mundhra3 Idiots was the best movie of 2009.

Tanushree Dutta Tanushree Dutta – For me, the best films of 2009 would be 3 Idiots and Avatar.

Ruslaan MumtazKaminey was the best film of the year along with 3 Idiots

Sujoy Ghosh – I haven’t seen 3 Idiots but I’ll go with Paa. It’s a film which made me feel very good about life. It’s a film which took some of my fears away. It’s a film which taught me to look at different things normally. I really appreciated that. It’s a film which didn’t try to squeeze my balls for emotions. And of course Mr. Bachchan, Vidya, Balki, Illayaraja and P.C. Sreeram made it all possible.

Sophie Choudry – According to me, 2009 was filled with below par cinema both in Hollywood and Bollywood. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed 3 Idiots, Kaminey and Paa. They were all brilliantly made films.

Urvashi SharmaBaabarr is one of my favourite films from 2009 but I think 3 Idiots has broken all the records and is the best Hindi film of the year. From Hollywood, I loved both The Hangover and Avatar.

Kunal Deshmukh – I loved Avatar because it educates us to think ahead and learn so much. And of course 3 Idiots, as we all know today, is a fabulous movie. It brought home a message without shoving it down your throat.

Tusshar Kapoor Ananth Mahadevan – Though Paa and 3 Idiots are what I would define as ideal mainstream cinema (they made cine-going a pleasure after what seemed ages), if one has to select a film, my choice would be Nandita Das’ Firaaq. The four stories were moving accounts of the aftermath of human folly fuelled by political insanity. The critical eye may pick a few bones of contention, but the film was relevant, urgent, well enacted and most importantly, credibly treated.

Tusshar Kapoor – Which movie is best for me in 2009? Obviously, there is going to be just one answer – 3 Idiots.

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

By Bollywood Hungama News Network, December 31, 2009 – 12:22 IST

Best Film
3 Idiots
Dev D
Kaminey
Love Aaj Kal
Paa

Best Director
Anurag Kashyap – Dev D
Imtiaz Ali – Love Aaj Kal
R Balki – Paa
Rajkumar Hirani – 3 Idiots
Vishal Bhardwaj – Kaminey

Best Actor (Male)
Aamir Khan – 3 Idiots
Amitabh Bachchan – Paa
Ranbir Kapoor – Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani
Ranbir Kapoor – Rocket Singh – Salesman Of The Year
Saif Ali Khan – Love Aaj Kal
Shahid Kapoor – Kaminey

Best Actor (Female)
Deepika Padukone – Love Aaj Kal
Kareena Kapoor – 3 Idiots
Katrina Kaif – New York
Priyanka Chopra – Kaminey
Priyanka Chopra – What’s Your Raashee?
Vidya Balan – Paa

Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Male)
Abhimanyu Singh – Gulaal
R Madhavan – 3 Idiots
Rishi Kapoor – Love Aaj Kal
Rishi Kapoor – Luck By Chance
Sharman Joshi – 3 Idiots

Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Female)
Arundhati Naag – Paa
Divya Dutta – Delhi-6
Gauhar Khan – Rocket Singh – Salesman Of The Year
Neha Dhupia – Raat Gayi Baat Gayi
Shahana Goswami – Firaaq

Best Actor in a Negative Role
Amole Gupte – Kaminey
Boman Irani – 3 Idiots
Kay Kay Menon – Gulaal
Mahesh Manjrekar – Wanted
Manish Choudhary – Rocket Singh – Salesman Of The Year

Best Actor in a Comic Role
D Santosh – Rocket Singh – Salesman Of The Year
Omi Vaidya – 3 Idiots
Paresh Rawal – De Dana Dan
Sanjay Mishra – All The Best
Vinay Pathak – Raat Gayi Baat Gayi

Best Background Music
Amit Trivedi – Dev D
Ilaiyaraja – Paa
Salim-Sulaiman – Rocket Singh – Salesman Of The Year
Shantanu Moitra, Atul Raninga, Sanjay Wandrekar – 3 Idiots
Vishal Bhardwaj – Kaminey

Best Music
A R Rahman – Delhi-6
Pritam – Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani
Pritam – Love Aaj Kal
Pritam – Tum Mile
Vishal Bhardwaj – Kaminey

Best Playback Singer Female
Kavita Seth – Iktara – Wake Up Sid
Rekha Bhardwaj – Genda Phool – Delhi-6
Shreya Ghoshal – Zoobi Doobi – 3 Idiots
Shilpa Rao – Mudi Mudi – Paa
Sunidhi Chauhan – Mere Sang – New York

Best Lyrics
Amitabh Bhattacharya – Emosanal Attyachaar – Dev D
Irshad Kamil – Chor Bazari – Love Aaj Kal
Javed Akhtar – Sapnon Se Bhare Naina – Luck By Chance
Piyush Mishra – Ranaji – Gulaal
Prasoon Joshi – Man Ko Ati Bhavey – London Dreams

Best Story
Abhijat Joshi, Rajkumar Hirani – 3 Idiots
Anurag Kashyap, Aparna Malhotra, Raj Singh Chaudhary, Sanjay Maurya – Gulaal
Imtiaz Ali – Love Aaj Kal
Nandita Das, Shuchi Kothari – Firaaq
R Balki – Paa

Best Screenplay
Abhijat Joshi, Rajkumar Hirani, Vidhu Vinod Chopra – 3 Idiots
Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane – Dev D
Imtiaz Ali – Love Aaj Kal
Pankaj Advani – Sankat City
R Balki – Paa

Best Dialogue
Abhijat Joshi, Rajkumar Hirani – 3 Idiots
Imtiaz Ali – Love Aaj Kal
Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane – Dev D
R Balki – Paa
Vishal Bhardwaj – Kaminey

Best Editing
Aarti Bajaj – Dev D
Aarti Bajaj – Love Aaj Kal
Anil Naidu – Paa
Meghna Manchanda Sen, Sreekar Prasad – Kaminey
Rajkumar Hirani – 3 Idiots

Best Sound
Bishwadeep Chatterjee, Nihar Ranjan Samel – 3 Idiots
Dileep Subramaniam – Love Aaj Kal
Sanjay Maurya, Allwin Rego – Dev D
Shajith Koyeri, Subhash Sahu, P M Satheesh – Kaminey
Tapas Nayak – Paa

Best Special Effects
Charles Darby – Aladin
Prime Focus Ltd – Blue

Best Cinematography
C.K. Muraleedharan – 3 Idiots
P.C. Sreeram – Paa
Rajeev Ravi – Dev D
Shankar Raman – Frozen
Tassaduq Hussain – Kaminey

Best Art Directon
Acropolis, Rajnish Hedaa, Sumit, Snigdha Basu – 3 Idiots
Sabu Cyril – Aladin
Samir Chanda – Delhi-6
Samir Chanda – Kaminey
Sukanta Panigrahy, Helen Jones – Dev D

Best Choreography
Ahmed Khan – Prem Ki Naiiyya – Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani
Avit Dias – Aal Izz Well – 3 Idiots
Bosco- Caesar – Zoobi Doobi – 3 Idiots
Prasanna – Marjaani – Billu
Baawre – Vaibhavi Merchant – Luck By Chance

Best Action
James D Bomalick – Blue
Huan-Chiu Ku – Chandni Chowk To China
Shyam Kaushal – Kaminey
Tinu Verma – Acid Factory
Vijayan Master – Wanted

Most Promising Newcomer (Male)
Amole Gupte – Kaminey
Chandan Roy Sanyal – Kaminey
Navin Kaushik – Rocket Singh – Salesman Of The Year
Omi Vaidya – 3 Idiots

Most Promising Newcomer (Female)
Gauhar Khan – Rocket Singh – Salesman Of The Year
Giselle Monteiro – Love Aaj Kal
Jesse Randhawa – Gulaal
Kalki Koechlin – Dev D
Mahie Gill – Dev D

Most Promising Debut Director
Ayan Mukerji – Wake Up Sid
Nandita Das – Firaaq
Pankaj Advani – Sankat City
Shivajee Chandrabhushan – Frozen
Zoya Akhtar – Luck By Chance

Best Child Artiste
Jahan Bativala – Little Zizou
Iyanah Bativala – Little Zizou
Rahul Kumar – 3 Idiots
Parzan Dastur- Sikandar
Pratik Katare – Paa

Best Ensemble Cast
Delhi-6
Firaaq
Gulaal
Luck By Chance
Sankat City

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

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Raghubir Yadav, aka Mungerilal, is wanted for constantly remaining absent in court. Cops haven’t been able to nab him, though he was shooting till a month ago

By Vinay Dalvi (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 29, 2009)


While actor Raghubir Yadav may be a known face in every household, thanks to the popular TV serials Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne and Chacha Chaudhary, for the police he remains untraceable for the past two months. This, despite him having been involved in shooting of a film right up to last month.

Meanwhile, Yadav’s estranged wife Purnima says he has been shooting for Aamir Khan Productions’ Peepli Live and will be attending the Sundance Film Festival in US soon

Yadav is wanted by the police after a warrant was issued against him for constantly remaining absent in court.

On the lookout for Yadav, the Aarey police visited the address mentioned by the family court in Bandra. But not finding him there, they submitted a report to the court stating that they have failed to locate him.

On September 19, the family court which is hearing a case against Yadav filed by his estranged wife Purnima, had issued an arrest warrant against Yadav. The court had earlier issued summons to Yadav for failing to appear in court for some time.

“We went to the given address of Roshini Archreja, who worked with Yadav in TV serials, and whose residence Yadav was said to live at. But she denied he ever lived there,” said Inspector Ashok Duliye of Aarey Police Station. “On Monday, we informed the court that he is not available at the given address,” Duliye added.

“I have been fighting for maintenance for a long time,” said Purnima. “He has been shooting for Aamir Khan Productions’ Peepli Live and will be attending the Sundance Film Festival in US soon.

How come the police say they cannot trace him? I got married to him in 1988, and we have not been living together since 1996. I don’t have money to educate my son Achal. I’ve done odd jobs at the National School of Drama, but they were all on contract basis, and today I don’t have a job. Even my rent is paid by my friends and old neighbours,” said Purnima.

When contacted, Anusha Rizvi, director of Peepli Live, confirmed that she had done some dubbing with Yadav for her film about a month ago.

However, a police officer said, “In court cases, we usually search only the address given to us by the court authority, as problems can arise in identifying a person. On the other hand, if it’s a police case, we hunt for the accused everywhere.”

Despite repeated attempts, Raghubir Yadav could not be contacted.

IT’S TIME TO REJOICE!

Although 2009 is considered as a black year for Bollywood, the last 3 ½ months have proved to be profitable not only for producers, distributors and exhibitors but also for viewers. There were at least half a dozen commercially successful films like Wanted, Wake Up Sid, All The Best, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, De Dana Dan and Paa. Also, flops like Dil Bole Hadippa, What’s Your Raashee?, Do Knot Disturb, Blue, London Dreams, Tum Mile, Kurbaan etc did manage to bring audiences to theatres in its first 3 days of release. Also, we got two Hollywood blockbusters, 2012 and Avatar. And tomorrow’s release 3 Idiots is expected to be the biggest hit of 2009. This Aamir Khan flick is been given one of the widest releases. If all turns out to be well, 3 Idiots may become the biggest blockbuster ever, breaking even Ghajini’s record (which at present is the biggest Bollywood hit).

People are coming to theatres. So many movies are running successfully. Unfortunately, no is celebrating it and no trade analyst is coming forward to discuss about it. Ironically, during bad times, every producers, distributor and trade pundits will come forward and state as to ‘how our industry is going through a crisis’. Somehow, we have become more negative in our approach. We love to live in bad times! Come on guys, pop the champagne and enjoy the good time!

TICKET RATES INCREASED FOR 3 IDIOTS


Watching 3 Idiots shall turn out to be an expensive affair. Knowing that people are going to come for sure to watch this Aamir Khan flick, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and the distributors of the film have urged multiplexes and single screens across the country to increase the ticket rates for 3 Idiots. Even morning shows which had a meager price of Rs 60 or 80 is now sold for 160 or 180 and even 200 bucks. A prominent multiplex in South Mumbai (Inox, Nariman Point) takes away the cake by charging Rs 290 for the 11:30 am show! And for the evening and night shows, the least said, the better!

Surprisingly, hardly any Bollywood intellectuals have spoken against this unfair practice. All of them are concerned only with the problem of piracy. Why? Because it concerns them-they face huge losses because of pirated DVDs. And they don’t need to care for the inflated ticket prices since they can either afford it or they get to see films free of cost in preview screenings!

But all of them have failed to see the point that one of the biggest reasons for piracy is the expensive ticket rates. Reducing the ticket prices will automatically reduce piracy to a certain extent. But instead of applying this idea, ticket rates are increasing, thus giving a boost to piracy. Producers and distributors are only concerned with extracting maximum profits. And when viewers shun theatres due to high prices, they will again come up with ‘industry going through crisis’ stuff when the fact is that they only created the situation in the first place! Very very sad!

This post first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/diary/chfdltslp/Fenils-Bollywood-Talk80

Rise and shine. 3 Idiots is luring you to the multiplexes for a 6am show with free chai and biscuits

By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 23, 2009)


This Christmas morning if you manage to wedge your eyes open by four am, try and make it for 3 Idiots at the multiplexes, which are screening the movie at six in the morning! For all your efforts, Aamir Khan and Co have even decided to give you free chai and biscuits.

Considering that 2009 hasn’t paid off for most films, everyone is putting their money on the Aamir Khan-starrer. In fact, only two films have broken box-office records – Salman Khan’s Wanted and the Ranbir-Katrina starrer, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani. 3 Idiots hits the theatres on Friday and everyone seems upbeat about it.

3 Idiots

Devang Sampat, Senior VP, Cinemax India Ltd, says, “There is often scope for a 6am show. There are many morning walkers and call centre employees who flock to the theatres at that time of the day. But we are doing it for the first time because there is a good demand for the tickets.” How many people watch movies after a sweaty morning jog is debatable, but it seems like nothing can dampen the festive mood.

Aditya Shroff, Asst VP Programming & Corporate Sales, Fame India Ltd, is geared to splash the movie across as many screens as possible. He says, “As we start early, we can accommodate more number of shows. We will have 37 shows spread over seven screens every day in Fame Malad. This would be the highest number of shows recorded in our chain on one single day.” Cinemax India will have as many as 28 shows on one day in their Andheri multiplex.

The said multiplexes are also planning to hold their last show as late at midnight. Naturally, the theatres are going to pay additional incentives to their staff.”We have also instructed our people to work in shifts. Honestly, nobody is complaining,” says Sampat.

At the time of going to the press, Fame India had decided to have their first show at 6.30am. However, a source from the industry says, “They might push it up to 6am.”

Fun Republic will not start as early. Vishal, Fun Republic VP, Marketing says, “We will start early, but at 9am. Fame and Cinemax have more screens. They have programming flexibility.”

Ditto for Imax. Inox will not have early shows. As for PVR, their earliest show will be at 8.30am.

Whose bright idea was it to screen the film at the crack of dawn? The marketing man of 3 Idiots, Aamir Khan?  Shroff says, “I came up with this idea for my chain of theatres. I think it will work.” Sampat laughs, “We also have a thinking brain.”

Would you go for 3 IDIOTS at 6am?

Will the  multiplex be houseful at 6am?

Ishita Thakur (22), Mahim: No way. Firstly, I don’t get up so early. Secondly, I am not excited about this film. I don’t think it will be awesome. If it was Avatar, I would have definitely gone for it.

Sunder Chandiramani (68), Seven Bungalows: I like to see a film in a relaxed mood. I want to jog in the mornings.

Poonam Tilani, Seven Bungalows: I meditate in the morning. I don’t want to disturb my schedule.

Satish Shenoy (45), Vile Parle: That is the time I am getting ready to go to the office. I want to see 3 Idiots at leisure.

Nameeta Bandekar (24), Borivli: Why? I can watch movies at any time.

Manisha Jaisinghani (35), Kandivli: Sorry, I can’t get up so early. 6am is a terribly inconvenient show.

Stills from movies (from top) Love Aaj Kal, Paa, New York, Wanted, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani and All The Best

…only 4 hits in 2009’s 240-plus films!

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 23, 2009)

Christmas is round the corner. And Bollywood is sincerely hoping Santa Claus will come to its rescue. Around 240 odd films (including the dubbed titles) have released so far in 2009. But barely four are certified hits. For the No. 1 slot, it is a photofinish between Saif Ali Khan’s Love Aaj Kal and Ramesh Taurani’s Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani. A trade source said, “Love Aaj Kal collected around Rs 60 crore but it was also sold at a higher price. While APKGK was sold at Rs 44 crore with print and publicity and will make a neat profit of at least Rs 10 crore for its producers. So, in a way, it is hard to tell which is the clear No.1.’’ Aditya Chopra’s New York is the second biggest hit, followed closely by Boney Kapoor’s Wanted. There is a mixed view on Amitabh Bachchan’s Paa and Ajay Devgn’s All the Best being in the fourth place. Trade analyst Taran Adarsh feels because AB Corp has curtailed the film’s budget to Rs. 16 crore and Paa is still running in multiplexes, it is a profitable film.
According to reliable market sources, lead actors Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan, and director R Balki, didn’t charge their market price. “It is reported that the Bachchans will get to keep the satellite rights of the film (valued at around Rs 10 crore) against their remuneration,’’ said a trade source. While film editor Komal Nahta feels All the Best has also romped home.
Taran said, “This has been the most unfortunate year for Bollywood. The box-office was crippled by the multiplex strike, swine flu and three four big movies clashing each week after that.’’ Distributor Amod Mehra added, “Many films were liked by the audience… but their price failed them. Raaz, Wake Up Sid and De Dana Dan got a fair share of audience — but the price at which they sold was astronomical, ensuring these films were a loss-making proposition for the main buyer.’’
As far as the critics are concerned, they have had to carry the carcass of the films they praised. Whether it was Kurbaan or Rocket Singh. Filmmaker N R Pachisia said, “Ranbir Kapoor is the future of this industry, Saif Ali Khan did himself a good turn with LAK, but the only man who deserves true praise this year is Amitabh Bachchan who with Paa raised the bar of our cinema to an international level.’’
P.S. The one film that everyone is unanimous about is the dubbed version of 2012 that has done as good business as the biggest Bollywood hit this year.

Box Office hits this year!
Love Aaj Kal
Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani
New York
Wanted
All the Best
Paa