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Trade Mark

With Aamir Khan’s Delhi Belly and Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Bbuddah Hoga Tera Baap raking in excellent weekend collections,the second half of 2011 is off to a flying start

Written by PriyankaPereira |
July 7, 2011 3:38:06 am

The first half of 2011 saw lukewarm business for the Hindi film industry; the next six months will decide whether this year is a hit or a flop

With Aamir Khan’s Delhi Belly and Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Bbuddah Hoga Tera Baap raking in excellent weekend collections,the second half of 2011 is off to a flying start. While the industry seems like it is in a formidable position,it is the next six months that will help us decide if the industry is ready for mega-budget projects. “With big films,the stakes are higher,pressure is immense and money is enormous. And with more than

Rs 500 crore riding in the market in the second half,this period is crucial,” warns trade analyst Taran Adarsh.

This warning comes after a dismal second half of 2009 and 2010,which saw major films like Raavan,Blue,Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey,Guzaarish,London Dreams,Kurbaan and Kambhakt Ishq incur heavy losses and put the industry on the backfoot. The only exceptions were Wanted,3 Idiots,Golmaal 3 and Dabangg which helped stabilise the situation a bit. With two of these starring Salman Khan in the lead,it is no surprise that his next,My Love Story has fetched the highest ever Indian theatrical price at Rs 75 crore. As rumours suggest,Shah Rukh Khan’s superhero flick,Ra.One is a close contender,as is Don 2. Movies like Singham,Rascals,Force,Rockstar,Mausam,Aarakshan,Ladies vs Ricky Bahl and Mere Brother Ki Dulhan are other big ticket projects which could make or break the equation in Bollywood. “Big money comes from big films. Hence it is good that 80 percent of the releases in the second half belong to the big league. Small films,even if they do well,cannot change the financial equations in the industry,” says film critic and analyst Komal Nahta.

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The second half of 2011 becomes all the more important because the first half didn’t do as well as expected. After the initial phase of average hits such as,No One Killed Jessica,Yamla Pagla Deewana and Tanu Weds Manu,the box office saw a dull period. “The first half was terrible,” says Manoj Desai,exhibitor,G7 multiplex and Maratha Mandir in Mumbai. “Except for Ready and Double Dhamaal that made money,the others failed to make any impact. Besides,sequels hardly make as much money as the original and Double Dhamaal suffered on this account,” says Desai,stating that the makers of Murder 2 may well be in for a rude shock. With the industry big on sequels,Farhan Akhtar’s Don 2 which releases on Christmas Eve is also in the spotlight. “But mine is the first sequel of a remake and it is for the first time that the sequel is about an anti-hero. The novelty factor could work for us,” says Akhtar.

The year will also see as many as three South Indian remakes — Singham ,Force and My Love Story,a genre that has so far tasted only success. “These three films could prove crucial as the action genre has become popular recently,” says Adarsh. “But content remains most important when it comes to the bigger picture.” Vipul Shah,producer of Force,seconds that opinion: “The script is,eventually,what drives the entire show. But with big films coming out every week,the advantage is with the filmmakers who have their releases slated for the latter part of the year. Promos of our upcoming films will get more screen space and that could help grab more eyeballs.”

Other wild card factors could affect how films,and the industry as a whole,do in the second half. October will see the release of Sanjay Dutt’s first home production Rascals,which he is sure to promote in a big way. Mausam’s USP will be father-son duo Pankaj and Shahid Kapoor working together for the first time and Rockstar will see the return of heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor who has been missing in action for the last one year. Yashraj Films will have its hopes pinned on Ladies vs Ricky Bahl which will see the comeback of Anushka Sharma and Ranveer Singh,after the sleeper hit Band Baaja Baaraat last year.

But Desai,who has been in the movie exhibition business for almost 35 years,feels all the marketing strategies aside,it is the television promos that will drive the film. “The year has seen inflation reach new heights. So the one thing people are looking to cut down on is entertainment. Viewers usually base their movie-watching decisions on television promos. For instance,most people are expecting Hrithik Roshan to return as an action hero now,but in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara,he plays a romantic and this isn’t helping in

creating a big buzz. Only time will tell if the audience accepts him or not,” he says.

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