360 degree spin saves Rajshri's 'Main Prem Ki Diwani'

MUMBAI: Rajshri Productions' recently released flick Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon is a perfect example of how "poor content" can be bolstered by marketing promotions - the much touted 360 degrees spin. Media reports indicate that the duration of the film has been cut (as from today) by one reel (20-30 minutes less) than the original length of 3 hours 17 minutes.

Trade experts say collections for the film have been falling alarmingly since Monday, 30 June. However, estimates indicate that Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon starring Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor and Abhishek Bachchan, is expected to gross around anything between Rs 92.5 million to Rs 95 million in its first week (310 prints) in India. The collections are way below expectations as compared to Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (Rs 131.25 million); Kaante (105.44 million); The Hero (Rs 104.3 million) and Devdas (96.26 million). The first weekend collections of the film in the UK were below par (around 159,003 pound sterling) as compared to the expectations of nearly trice that amount. The film, however, did much better in the US with earnings in the region of $1.1 million.

The point to note is the fact that Bollywood director-producer Sooraj Barjatya tried every trick in the trade to promote his Rajshri Productions recent release Main Prem Ki Diwani that was released after a huge gap. Rajshri Productions tied up with The Times of India group promoted indiatimes.com, Planet M and Pantaloon Retail India amongst others. A shy and introvertish Barjatya "compromised" and "broke a tradition" by "attending" a press conference held at The Times of India headquarters in Mumbai - something that he has never done during the release of his earlier films.

On conditions of anonymity, multiplex employees say that Rajshri Productions even forced multiplexes to reduce their ticket rates to around Rs 100 per ticket - for instance, Shringar group owned Fame Adlabs in Mumbai reduced to Rs 100 from a level of around Rs 125-150 per ticket. Sources say that multiplex owners were forced to do it as they couldn't risk not showing a Rajshri film.

The producers of the film also forced the multiplexes to display "Prem’s Attire" and "Sanjana’s Closet" at the theatre premises. These are exclusive lines of merchandise created by Pantaloons used in the Rajshri Productions (P) Ltd.’s recently release film.

Pantaloon launched Prem’s Attire comprising of T-shirts, jeans, drawstring pants and shirts priced from Rs 349 onwards. Sanjana’s Line has both ethnic and western range of apparels which includes T-shirts, lace tops, courduroy trousers and jeans priced from Rs 299 onwards. Apart from clothes the merchandise consists of stationery, soft toys, key chains and gift articles. When the stars of the film made an appearance at the Mumbai outlet of Pantaloon, the crowds were unmanageable and there were security-related concerns.

However, none of these promos seem to have contributed to creating the kind of euphoric response that was expected. Some viewers have confided to the indiantelevision.com team that they couldn't sit through during the film.

The only winner seems to be television actor Pankaj Kapur whose sterling performance in Main Prem Ki Diwani has been appreciated. Incidentally, Kapur, seems to be climbing from strength to strength. His TV serial on SAB TV Office Office seems to be becoming more popular each day, his son Shahid Kapur's film Ishq Vishq was appreciated and set the cash counters ringing.

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