Bollywood struggles to smiles as Quarter One comes to an endMarch 24th, 2009 - 10:06 am ICT by Sampurn Wire
By Joginder Tuteja
It has become a season of multiple releases for Bollywood. Last weekend saw as many as five movies vying for screen space - FIRAAQ, ALOO CHAAT, STRAIGHT, BARAH AANA and LOTTERY. And this Friday there would be three more films coming to theaters - AA DEKHEN ZARA, EK - THE POWER OF ONE, VIDESH - HEAVEN ON EARTH. Frankly, it has been one crowded fortnight and also the one where audiences are hardly able to decide what do they eventually want to watch!
There are too many choices available but honestly, none that have been enticing enough to make audiences rush to theaters and get tickets booked in advance. The fate of last weekend’s releases is known by one and all with none of them making any mark whatsoever at the box office. Adding on the pile of disasters that Bollywood has seen in 2009 so far, none of the five films saw even a face saving turnout of audience.
Which brings us to the three releases of the week that makes one wonder if situation will see a reasonable improvement in days to come! Well, if one is looking at a bumper initial for any of the three films, it isn’t really on the cards. AA DEKHEN ZARA seems interesting but belongs to the kind that would work more on word on mouth. Even though the film has Neil Nitin Mukesh coming after the critical acclaim of JOHNNY GADDAAR (which did better on DVD circuit than the theatrical run) and Bipasha Basu adding on to the glamour quotient, AA DEKHEN ZARA belongs to the ‘wait and watch’ category of films. Yes, it seems interesting but the opening day will mainly see hardcore movie buffs thronging the theaters, not the ‘aam junta’ who would bring their kids and families along to have a Friday evening out.
On the other hand, EK - THE POWER OF ONE is for hardcore masses and though one would have felt that ‘walls being broken with bare fists’ was passé since the rise (and subsequent fall) of Sunny Deol during and after GADAR - EK PREM KATHA, an all time blockbuster success of GHAJINI has reaffirmed that action is there to stay if treated, marketed and promoted well. Ask a certain Mr. Aamir Khan about this and he will definitely nod his head in agreement with a smile!
However, the fact is that Bobby Deol is no Aamir Khan. Still, he has worked earlier in bona fide action films like SOLDIER, BAADAL and BICHOO and with some stroke of luck, he may well find his bearings once again in the action genre. With a project like EK - THE POWER OF ONE, he has absolutely nothing to loose and one never knows, the audiences in the interiors may well warm up to the liberal action dose that the film brings with it. Remake of a very successful Telugu film called ATHADU, EK - THE POWER OF ONE may actually go on to make some money in the long run because come April and there won’t be a single release in theaters for an entire month (except for 8X10 TASVEER) due to distributors v/s exhibitors stand off!
Which brings us to the third release of the week - VIDESH - HEAVEN ON EARTH. This is one film which doesn’t quite carry any chances of an opening in spite of presence of Preity Zinta as a lead protagonist and Deepa Mehta as a director. Honestly, in the current times when audience is already depressed (due to recession as well as poor quality of movies being churned), it seems unlikely that they would be willing to spend some money on a dark and depressing subject like VIDESH. When even entertainment is coming at a price and supposedly fun films like CHANDNI CHOWK TO CHINA and BILLU BARBER are falling flat, it would be quite some surprise if audiences lap up to a grim subject like VIDESH which deals with the theme of marital abuse. Even Aishwarya Rai couldn’t save PROVOKED which was released a couple of years and had a similar theme, hence chances are extremely slim that situation would be any better for this film which is releasing under the banner of BR Films.
One now eagerly looks forward to how Friday unfolds with the arrival of AA DEKHEN ZARA, EK - THE POWER OF ONE, VIDESH - HEAVEN ON EARTH. Bollywood is in desperate search for a hit and with the entire quarter of 2009 coming to a close, it would be nothing short of heartbreaking if none of these three releases manages to get some money back into the industry. -Sampurn Media
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Tags: aana, barah, bipasha basu, coming to theaters, critical acclaim, fists, fortnight, friday evening, glamour quotient, heaven on earth, joginder, junta, movie buffs, nitin, opening day, prem, screen space, sunny deol, three films, zara