Bollywood waits for rescue from big releases

MUMBAI: Three hits. That‘s Bollywood‘s scorecard for the year so far. Plagued by bad content, a two-month multiplex strike, cricket and general elections, the industry is waiting to be rescued by the mega releases.

A few of them have already come and, fortunately, fared well at the box-office. The first to escape the slump came as late as June in the form of Yash Raj Films‘ New York, a story about three friends in the backdrop of 9/11 terror attack, that captivated audiences and grossed Rs 870 million. Eros‘ Love Aaj Kal, a long-distance relationship, raked in over Rs 1 billion and UTV‘s Kaminey, a dark comedy, fetched Rs 800 million.

But it is no news to cheer as most of the films just fell by the wayside. Recent films like Aage Se Right, Chintuji, Three- Love, Lies, Betrayal, Mohandas, Fox and Bachelor‘s Party fared dismally. This is reflected by their box-office figures. Fox with 79 prints across the country proved to be a disaster when it grossed Rs 13.73 million.

Aagey Se Right was also rejected. Releasing with 277 prints across the country, the film could muster Rs 21.93 million. Three - Love, Lies, Betrayal didn‘t find acceptance too. With 87 prints, the film grossed Rs 26,05,985.

Rishi Kapoor‘s Chintuji also failed to work its magic with the audience. The film released with 16 prints across the country and could rope in just Rs 213,157 per print. Mohandas also failed, garnering a measly Rs 226,227.

Take last week‘s release of relatively small films - Vaada Raha..I Promise, Shaabash! You Can Do It, Baabarr and Aamras. The initial market feedback is that these films are failing to perform.

There have been over 200 films released in the first nine months, of which we have had only three hits.

Explains noted filmmaker Mukesh Bhatt, "Some of the big-banner films are expected to release in this period. I think if half of these films click, we would have made even."

The Bollywood film industry is waiting to be rescued by the mega releases. All eyes are set for the release of Yash Raj Films‘ Dil Bole Hadippa and Boney Kapoor‘s Wanted on 18 September.

Says Cinemax COO Devang Sampat, "We are hopeful about the coming few months, when many good films are to release. During the festive season, we can foresee people thronging the theatres. But take it from me, the third quarter will be bigger and brighter than the second."

With the September quarter about to end and a few good films lined up, the film industry is keeping its fingers crossed. Rolling out will be big-banner and big budget mmovies like What‘s Your Rashee, Wake Up Sid, Blue, London Dreams, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, All The Best, Main Aurr Mrs Khanna, Alladin,Three Idiots, Jail, Tum Mile, Paa and De Dhana Dhan.

Says Fun Cinemas COO Vikas Kapur, "Not only will the release of big-banner Bollywood films make an impact, but Hollywood films (UP, Avatar, Sherlock Holmes, 2012 etc) will also work wonders for us, I hope."

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