No royal reception for Raja Natwarlal

Despite naming it after Amitabh Bachchan’s 1979 film and a long weekend to its advantage, Raja Natwarlal opened poorly

Written by Namita Nivas | Mumbai | Published:September 5, 2014 1:00 am
Raja Natwarlal Raja Natwarlal

An Emraan Hashmi film is generally a crowd-puller. However, this time Raja Natwarlal failed to lure the audience. Analysing this, film exhibitor-distributor Akshaye Rathi feels the main reason for this is the audience for a typical Emraan Hashmi film is the same as the crowd that is enthusiastic about the Ganesh festivities. “Emraan is a mass star but the Ganesh festival followed by heavy rains have been the cause for the drop in collections of the film. While I am not sure if it will pick up in the coming weeks, I hope it sustains at the box-office,” he says.
Confirming this, Vvikas Paul, President, Friends India Entertainment who is based in Australia and generally distributes Punjabi films in Australia and New Zealand says, “Raja Natwarlal is a big flop here. It earned A$15000 (Rs.8,47,249.69) in Australia and only NZ$ 4000 (Rs.2,02,860.81) in New Zealand in its opening weekend.”
As per trade analyst Vinod Mirani, the law of averages catches up with Emraan Hashmi as he delivers another mediocre film. He points out that, “Kissing scenes cannot salvage a bad film. Despite being a stolen idea from The Sting, a 1973 Hollywood classic, the film lacked in scripting and content. Paresh Rawal made it a bit tolerable but not enough to salvage it commercially. The film had a below average opening on Friday and dropped by about 20 per cent on Saturday which indicates total rejection. Its release with the onset of Ganesh festival was a bad idea. The Kunal Deshmukh-directed film has ended its opening weekend with Rs.14.40 crore.” Proving this, Rathi gives a break-up of its collections. “Raja Natwarlal garnered Rs.4.75 crore on its opening day while the second and third day collections were Rs.3.90 crore and Rs.5.95 crore respectively. While the occupancy was a bit weak in the multiplexes, single screen theatres performed well on Friday and Saturday. At many centers, the occupancy even went to the extent of 40-50 per cent on Sunday but that did not help the collections,” he says about the film that also released in 938 UFO digital theatres.
Besides this, even the other releases of the week performed poorly. “Identity Card, Last Benchers and Trip To Bhangarh met with ‘No audience no show’ status at most centres,” states Mirani while Rathi feels, “It is not worth writing about the performances of these films.”
However, before going to the person, when contacted, the Disney spokesperson for the exact figures, there was no response from them.

Mardaani mania

The Rani Mukerji-starrer, which released a couple of weeks ago, has not really garnered the kind of attention that a YRF generally enjoys. However, Rathi is of the opinion that the film would pick up in the coming weeks once it gets the tax free status. “Another advantage would be its digital exhibition (UFO) charges. Generally a distributor has to shell out Rs.14000 for the digital exhibition in the first week of the film’s release which is reduced to Rs. 9000-10000 in the second week and third week onwards the charges come down to Rs.1000. So in its third week, Mardaani will not only be tax free, its digital charges would be low. Also with Mary Kom having limited screens for release, Mardaani, which reigns in 286 UFO digital theatres, will have a lot of cinemas for exposure, mainly in small centres. And the film will benefit from this.”
Mirani opines that Mardaani, the first ‘adult only’ certified film from the Yash Raj banner, has failed to generate audience enthusiasm. The film fared average at the box- office having collected Rs.22.97 crore for its first week. It added another Rs.5.24 crore in its second weekend taking its ten day total to Rs.28.21 crore. Adding to this, Rathi asserts, that the centers where Mary Kom may not release, Mardaani will surely work. “This is because it is not really known whether you will find an audience in small towns for a woman-centric sports film.”

Punjabi tadka

Punjabi films have always made a mark, especially overseas and this time with veteran actor Dharmendra making his debut in Punjabi films, it has been a special treat for Punjabi film lovers worldwide.
Asserting this, Rathi says that the occupancy has been pretty good for Double Di Trouble in Delhi and Punjab while in other nearby centres, it is about 40 percent. It even did a few houseful shows in USA, UK, Canada and Australia.
Paul proved this by giving a breakup of its collections in Australia and New Zealand. In Australia, he says Double Di Trouble which released there on August 28, garnered A$ 4357 (Rs.2,46,218.87) on its opening day, on Friday it was A$ 12100 (Rs.6,83,784.33), Saturday it collected A$ 25465 (Rs.14,39,055.21) while Sunday it went up to A$ 32,637 (Rs.18,43,664.13) making the total to A$ 74,559 (Rs.42,11,837.91). While in New Zealand, it opened on Friday with NZ$ 4137 (Rs.20,99,278.91), Saturday and Sunday, it was NZ$ 6029 (Rs.3,05,928.13) and NZ$ 6094 (Rs.3,09,226.41) respectively making the total to NZ$ 16,261 (Rs.8,25,083.14)

Foreign shores

Of the Hollywood films, the fifth installment of the Step Up series titled Step Up In All and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles did okay in very niche markets as both the films got very limited release. Same was the case with Crossing Bridges. Hence their performances are not really worth mentioning about, feels Rathi.

Looking back

Rohit Shetty-directed Ajay Devgn-starrer Singham Returns, which also released in 377 UFO digital theatres, has garnered a total of Rs. 138.29 crore in 17 days. While Entertainment, Akshay Kumar’s comic caper has collected Rs.63.1 crore in three weeks, the fourth week tally of Salman Khan’s action film Kick has amounted to Rs.226.35 crore.

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