Big stars unaffordable for independent producers

MUMBAI: Big films are getting scarce with some major studios pulling out from backing productions. Thanks to the corporate houses bankrolling films, the costs have escalated and the stars have become unaffordable for independent producers.

Besides these factors, a majority of big stars such as Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, Shah Rukh Khan and Ajay Devgn, etc. now prefer to work mainly for their home productions or in joint ventures with directors who have successful track record.

In the circumstances, some independent producers are making a comeback, albeit, with films featuring lesser stars and relying more on different content, a story without props like action and special effects and such.

Some such films do turn out to be good, win appreciation as well, the two recent examples being Mukti Bhawan and Anaarakli Of Aarah. However, the moviegoer does not find such films viable at the admission high rates that multiplexes charge which are same as big star films.

*Begum Jaan, the new release of the week, is one such film that tries to tread a different trend, away from what its producers, the Bhatt Brothers, were known to make so far: mostly thrillers, romance laced with titillation backed by strong musical scores.

Remade in Hindi from the Bengali film Rajkahini (2015), the film lacked purpose. There were major issues, massacres and millions were uprooted from their homes and became refuges during the partition. And as the film’s story goes, here is this woman brothel owner who wants to save her brothel from being dismantled in the cause of creating a border wedge! And, the film also shows some flashbacks of the violence of that happened during the partition!

Begum Jaan opened to weak response, failed to find appreciation and, yet, thanks to some good promotion and expecting Vidya Balan to come up with another striking performance, it managed to rake in Rs 3.4 crore on the opening day. On Saturday and Sunday, the collections remained almost stagnant as the film collected Rs 10.6 crore for its opening weekend.

*Laali Ki Shaadi Mein Laaddoo Deewana has a disastrous opening week as the film manages to put together a meagre Rs 80 lakh.

*Mirza Juuliet, an intercommunity romance with politics and violence as the background in UP, fails badly. The film collects about Rs 55 lakh for its first week.

*Mukti Bhawan enjoys good word but not the moolah and collects just about Rs 50 lakh.

*Blue Mountain remained very low at about Rs 10 lakh in its first week.

*Bahubali: The Beginning (Re-run) collected Rs 3.1 crore in one week despite an extensive release.

*Naam Shabana sustained well in its second week to add approx. Rs 5.6 crore to its first week collections taking its two week tally to Rs 28.1 crore.

*Phillauri added Rs 40 lakh in its third week to take its three week total to Rs 24.6 crore.

*Badrinath Ki Dulhania collected Rs 1.1 crore in its fifth week to take its five week total to Rs 114.2 crore.

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