Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions gave the Hindi cinema its first superhit film post-pandemic in Akshay Kumar-led cop drama Sooryavanshi. Now, the production house’s next big project, JugJugg Jeeyo is all set to arrive in the theaters, and it remains to be seen if the comedy-drama will end the drought for Hindi cinema at the box office or will it be another addition to the string of flops. Trade experts feel the advance bookings of the film is quite ‘encouraging’ and the film might be a hit.
JugJugg Jeeyo, a family entertainer, is led by actors Anil Kapoor, Neetu Kapoor, Kiara Advani, and Varun Dhawan. Helmed by Raj Mehta, the film revolves around Varun and Kiara who are heading towards divorce. Soon, Varun’s character realises that his father, played by Anil Kapoor, also wants to end his marriage. What follows is a lot of confusion, twists, fun and entertainment.
Film producer and trade expert, Girish Johar suggests that JugJugg Jeeyo has everything going in its favour, from the buzz around the film to the response to its trailer and music. He said, “The advance booking levels are decent and it is yet to pick up. The trailer was quite appreciated when it was released. Music is also doing good. Even at the ground promotional level, the team is going all out. In a nutshell, the awareness level is quite high. The buzz is good. I am hoping for a good start for it at the box office.”
The film is set to release on over 3000 screens in the country and Girish Johar has pegged the film’s opening day collection at Rs 8-9 crore. He feels, “JugJugg Jeeyo is a bit urban, typical Dharma glossy film. So, it will get a good start in Delhi, Punjab, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Mysore, and the top 20 cities.”
Film exhibitor Akshaye Rathi has similar concerns about how the film will perform in the rural market and smaller towns of the country. “I have no doubts JugJugg Jeeyo will do phenomenally well in the metro cities and urban India. The only thing I want to see is how well it performs in smaller towns and rural India because the film’s cast has appeal beyond the metros but the matter of question is whether the film’s content will appeal to the audience beyond urban India,” he opined.
But Rathi also feels that even in the smaller towns the sensibilities of the audience have evolved with the penetration of OTT platforms. He said, “The content from across the world is being consumed now. People across the country have become accepting of all kinds of content. Now, it remains to be seen if this audience finds JugJugg Jeeyo worthy enough to buy a ticket and go to the theaters.”
However, all said and done, it is getting difficult for the film trade experts to predict how a film will perform at the ticket counters because of a shift in the audience’s film-watching attitude. Girish Johar noticed, “Films have been unpredictable. That is probably because now the audience wants to invest their money in buying a ticket for an entertaining film. Like Bhool Bhulaiya 2 was an entertaining film, though it was criticised. They also know that 4-5 weeks down the line, the film will release on some OTT platform. So they better watch an entertaining film in the theaters.”
Also, Akshaye Rathi saw two new trends that have emerged post-pandemic. He explained, “Post pandemic, if the audience is liking a film they are even going multiple times to watch it and films are becoming bigger successes than they probably would have been before the pandemic. But, there is no moderate success these days. Either a film is a blockbuster or it is a complete box office debacle.”
He continued, “Another trend that can be observed post-pandemic is that before the pandemic, a film used to do a Rs 10 crore business on opening day, and perform well over the first weekend but then fizzle out completely. But post-pandemic, if you look at all the successful films like Sooryavanshi, Pushpa, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, Top Gun Maverick and others, they perform well at the box office for weeks and sustain. Now, it is too tough to gauge where a film will go.”