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Monday, June 14, 2021

AN AVERAGE FARE

While it was a mixed first half for Marathi cinema in 2010,the Bengali scenario was not so encouraging at the box-office.

Written by Namita Nivas |
July 16, 2010 2:46:57 pm

While it was a mixed first half for Marathi cinema in 2010,the Bengali scenario was not so encouraging at the box-office. However,the first six months proved eventful for Kannada,Telugu and Tamil movies. Though Malayalam films did average business at the box-office,they made headlines,thanks to controversies

Marathi cinema
Till June 2010,there have been about 40 releases in Marathi cinema and the response has been a mixed bag. Zee Talkies’ Natarang was well-received for its concept as well as Atul Kulkarni’s excellent performance of a naachya (a male tamasha artiste). The film was instrumental in bringing back tamasha to Marathi cinema. It was also released with English subtitles thus opening it for the non-Marathi speaking audience. The total earning of the film at the box-office was over Rs 10 crore. The next film that proved to be profitable was Mahesh Manjrekar’s film on the educational system,Shikshanacha Aicha Gho,that collected Rs 3.5 crore. It was followed by Avdhoot Gupte’s political drama Zenda with Rs 2 crore and Harishchandrachi Factory,India’s official entry to the Oscars,with Rs 1.5 crore. Hapus was the last film to release in June and it collected over a crore at the box-office in the first week at 172 screens across 25 districts in Maharashtra.

While AB Corp’s Vihir received critical acclaim at international film festivals,it was a disappointment at the box-office. The stakes were high for Manjrekar’s Lalbaug Parel,which was also released in Hindi as City of Gold,but it fared average at the box-office. Jhing Chik Jhing,that did the rounds of festivals,and Mumbai Pune Mumbai also did average business.
Some of the duds were Ringa Ringa,Huppa Huiyya,Irada Pakka,Anandi Anand,Kalshekar Aahet Ka?,Zale Mokale Aakash,Kshanbhar Vishranti and Target which premiered in Abu Dhabi.

Eastward bound
Down east,Bengali cinema is steadily transcending regional and national borders. Song sequences are being shot abroad amidst picturesque locations across Mauritius,Sri Lanka and Bangkok. Actors and technical crew are imported from Bollywood and Bhuvaneshwar. Bengali technicians and actors are working in Hindi films. Producers from beyond Kolkata are willingly stepping in to produce both mainstream and off-mainstream Bangla films. Around 40 feature films were released in the first six months of 2010.
All this would perhaps have painted a pretty picture of the Bengali cinematic landscape,but hardly 10 per cent of the films released could shake the audience and fill the box-office coffers.

One can barely finish counting the hits on the fingers of one hand. Amanush starring Soham and Srabonti,Le Chakka starring Dev and Payal Sirkar,Wanted,featuring Jeet and Srabonti,Bolona Tumi Amaar with Dev and Koel Mullick and surprisingly,Gaja Ukiler Hathya Rahasya,a children’s film that drew a packed house during a limited release at Nandan II are the films that raked in the money. Not so surprisingly,movies from the elitist,nationally and internationally-recognised camp of significant filmmakers badly bit the box-office dust. These are Rituparno Ghosh’s Aboho-maan,Clerk directed by Subhadro Chowdhury,Suman Mukhopadhyay’s Mahanagar@ Kolkata,Suman Ghosh’s Dwando and Anjan Das’ Achin Pakhi. Aparna Sen’s The Japanese Wife picked up after an initially dull opening but whether it could recover its money is anyone’s guess. The two mainstream films featuring Mithun Chakraborty in the lead,namely,Rehmat Ali and Handa Bhonda turned out to be commercial disappointments that barely did average business. His third release this year,Shukno Lanka produced by Mumbai Mantra and directed by Gaurav Pandey is not a mainstream film and its destiny at the ticket counters in yet to come out.

Some relatively young filmmakers with promising promos on television channels raised a lot of expectations. Among these were Birsa Dasgupta’s 033,about a Bengali music band trying to find its roots,a streamline-budget Antardahan by Dr. Pramod Pandey,Riingo’s lavishly-mounted Jodi Ek Din,Dhananjoy Mandal’s Mela,Thana Theke Aaschhi,Thikana Rajpath and Maati-O-Manush and Avik Mukherjee’s directorial debut Ekti Tarar Khonje. Most of these films fell by the wayside because they lacked the X-factor that pulls the audience in,while some were released without any marketing or promos.
Swapan Saha’s Ghar Sansar and Mon Niye hardly carried this quickie director’s signature and therefore,collapsed within a week of their release. Raj Mukherjee’s Mon Amar Shudhu Tomar was a bit better among masala films. Prabhat Roy’s Hangover is a sharp pointer to this veteran director’s sudden switchover to bawdy comedy. It also raises questions about Prosenjit’s hold over the top position as his off-mainstream Clerk was also a washout.

Some films should never have been made at all and were pulled out of the theatres almost a week within their release. How the makers could bag producers to fund their films and exhibitors to screen them,not to talk of good actors who acted in them remains a mystery. These are Antarbash,Bondhu Tomar,Maa,Eka Eka,Kicchu Chaoa Kichhu Paoa,Kartiker Biye,Lukochuri,Bondhu Tomar,Bor Bou Khela,Shono Mon Boli Tomay and Love Circus. The Priyanka-Rahul off-screen live-in relationship has destroyed the screen chemistry they promised in their debut film in Chirodini Tumi Je Amaar. Dev is heading towards the Numero Uno position because he is yet to deliver a flop! Following him among the leading ladies is Srabonti with two hits released on the same day. Wanted was Jeet’s first hit after a spate of flops.

Down South
It was quite an eventful year in the South. Amongst Telugu films,it was Simha that topped at the box-office. The Balakrishna starrer directed by Boyapati Srinu,made at a budget of about 18 crores,gave a fresh lease of life to producers Parachuri Prasad and Kiriti. The distributors were happy with the box-office response and the satellite rights were sold off at Rs 3 crore. The expectations are that it may end up making nearly 40 crores.
If Simha proved to be a mega-hit,Adurs,Ye Maaya Chesave,Darling and Betting Bangarraju were hits. Adurs,with Junior NTR and Nayantara in key roles,was made at around Rs.26 crore. The film collected about Rs. 30 crore. The Gautham Menon-directed Ye Maaya Chesave,starring Naga Chaithanya and Samanta,was made at a budget of Rs 10 crore and has reportedly raked in about Rs 15 crore. The Prabhas-Kajal Agarwal starrer Darling brought for distributor Dil Raju a profit of more than Rs 4 crore after the film was made at a budget of Rs 18 crore. Betting Bangarraju,a laugh-riot made at a budget of Rs 6 crore,raked in about Rs 4 crore.

In Tamil,the first half year belonged mainly to Suriya and his brother Karthi. While Suriya delivered a hit with Singam,which is still going strong,Karthi made his presence felt in a big way with Paiyya and earlier scored with Aayirathil Oruvan,Singam and Paiyya. Singam,directed by Hari,is a cop story with Suriya and Anushka in lead roles. Produced by Studio Green,it is running to full houses at many places and is expected to bring in at least Rs.40 crore. Paiyya,which had Karthi and Tamannaah in the lead,was a road movie directed by Linguswamy. Made at a budget of Rs 12 crore,the film has till date raked in more than Rs 30 crore. Vinnaithandi Varuvaya,the Gautham Menon-directed film with Silambarasan and Trisha in the lead,won rave reviews as well as box-office success. Made on a budget of Rs 14 crore,it has brought in Rs 18 crore. Karthi’s action flick Aayirathil Oruvan was lapped up by the audience due to its excellent visual effects and Karthi’s performance. The C.S.Amudhan-directed Tamizh Padam,which was a spoof on Tamil cinema,was made on a shoestring budget of Rs 2.5 crore and raked in as much as Rs 8 crore. Angadi Theru,directed by Vasanthabalan and produced by Ayngaran International,was a realistic film that went on to become an average grosser. So was the case with Simbu Devan’s Irumbu Kottai Murattu Singam. Mani Ratnam’s Raavanan,the most-awaited movie in recent times,is doing much better than its Hindi version and trade pundits expect it to be a hit.

With the late Vishnuvardhan in the lead,the Kannada film Aptharakshaka was a sequel to Apthamithra,the remake of the Tamil Chandramukhi,which,in turn,was a remake of the Malayalam hit Manichitrathazhu. The P.Vasu-directed film,with Vishnuvardhan,Komal,Avinash,Lakshmi Gopalswamy,Vimala Raman,Sandhya in the cast,was the biggest hit. The film is now being remade in Telugu.

The Puneet Rajkumar-Parvathy Menon starrer Prithvi proved to be a taut action flick and was lapped up by the audience. Puneeth plays a dare-all cop in this technically- brilliant movie. Porki,with Darshan,Pranita and Avinash in the key roles,was a remake of the Telugu hit Pokkiri. Made at a budget of about Rs 7 crore,the film managed to break even,though it didn’t do as well as the Telugu original. Prakash Raj’s debut directorial venture Nannu Nanna Kanasu is a remake of the Tamil film Abhiyum Naanum and has Prakash Raj,Amoolya and Sithara in key roles. The film has crossed the 50 -day mark.

The Sudeep-directed Just Math Mathalli,starring Sudeep and Ramya and Rajesh and Premism with Varun,Chetan and Amoolya in the lead were just average grossers.
Malayalam cinema in the first half of 2010 belonged to Mammootty,Prithviraj and debutant director Vyshakh. Their joint venture Pokkiri Raja has proved to be a clean hit. Made at a budget of Rs 4.25 crores by producer Tomichan Mulagupadam,the film has a mix of comedy,action,drama,songs et al and is a thorough entertainer. The film has grossed about Rs 17 crore. Shriya Saran is the heroine. The film is still running successfully.

Paappi Appacha,directed by debutant Mammas with Dileep and Kavya Madhavan in the lead,has proven to be a family hit. The film explores the father-son relationship and has Innocent and Dileep in the lead roles. Produced by Anoop,the film did well during the summer vacations.
Happy Husbands,directed by Saji Surendran with Jayaram,Indrajith,Jayasurya,Bhavana,Samvritha Sunil in key roles was a hit with family audience all across the state.

In Ghost House Inn,which was a sequel to In Harihar Nagar and 2 Harihar Nagar,did not get the kind of response that the earlier two films had received. But the film,which attracted the family audience and kids,proved to be a hit due to the great initials that it got,by dint of the hype in the media. The Satyan Anthikkad-directed Katha Thudarunnu,with Jayaram and Mamta Mohandas in the lead role,didn’t get the response that Satyan Anthikkad films get usually. But it’s still running at many centres and has managed to break even too. Mummy & Me,directed by Jeethu Joseph who had earlier made Detective,revolves around a mother-daughter relationship and has Urvashi,Archana Kavi and Mukesh in key roles. The film has attracted the family audience and is an average hit.

Controversies were not far behind. The Thilakan issue,the clash between the Film Chamber and the trade unions in connection with the ban on actors performing in television shows and the latest issue between producers and exhibitors which has led to films being held back for over three weeks has proved to be a bane for Malayalam cinema.
Over all,most of the films in the first half of this year have got a mixed response. Hopefully,movies across all industries will fare better in the second half.
– (With Shoma A Chatterjee and Unni R Nair)

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