Small films win big at the box office
The small-budget films that Bollywood churned out this year were the ones that raked in the money at the box office, not the much-hyped big releases, the industry's half yearly report card reveals.
The report, which is an eye opener of sorts, says that only six of the 50 films released were declared hits and the small-budget movies made with little-known actors had an edge over the publicised biggies.
Catering to the changing tastes of the audience, movies such as "Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd", "Bheja Fry", "Life In A... Metro", that banked upon a good script, good performances and fresh treatment, found favor with the audience.
In comparison, well-packaged and much-publicized "Jhoom Barabar Jhoom", "Ta Ra Rum Pum", "Shakalaka Boom Boom", "Eklavya - The Royal Guard", "Salaam-e-Ishq" "Just Married" and "Nishabd" were washouts because they failed to live up to the expectations of moviegoers.
"You can't take the audiences for granted. They are not fools. Today, the audiences are looking for good stories. Therefore it is not easy to fool them with marketing and pre-release hype," Kamlesh Pandey, who scripted the super hit "Rang De Basanti", told IANS.
"If marketing could do the magic then 'Jhoom Barabar Jhoom' and 'Ta Ra Rum Pum' would have done well at the box office. The audience has become smarter and can see through the publicity gimmicks," added Pandey.
Among the big releases, the only films that did well were the Akshay Kumar starrer "Namastey London" and the Abhishek Bachchan-Aishwarya Rai starrer "Guru". Both films enjoyed a good run at the box office.
And, of course, Apoorva Lakhia's multi-starrer crime thriller "Shootout At Lokhandwala" clicked too.
Based on a true incident, the film scored well at the box office and is still doing well. Its producers are Sanjay Gupta and Ekta Kapoor.
The changing tastes of moviegoers in the last few years enabled controversial films like "Parzania", "Black Friday" and "Water" to do well. Mira Nair's "The Namesake" and Jagmohan Mundhra's "Provoked" got positive feedback too. Apart from good scripts and well-etched characters, the films had social as well as artistic merits.
Ironically, while the taste of the audience is altering, major producers continue to chase formulas.
"Unfortunately, the people who have money don't have the intelligence to understand a good script. They go for big names for their personal security," said Pandey.
Kumar Taurani, managing director of Tips Industries Ltd, is not averse to big names but agrees that the script plays a pivotal role in the success of a film.
He says: "Any producer would prefer success at the ticket window and for that you need a good script. Having said that, I feel that if you have a good script and big names the profit ratio is greater.
"Things are changing, so may be soon the small stars would also guarantee bigger profits. Films like 'Bheja Fry' and 'Dor' got good response which proves that now everybody is getting a chance here."
Pandey is pinning his hopes on the taste of the audience. "The industry is changing but my hope is the audience because they can see through the media hype," he says.
The report card proves that superstars such as Amitabh Bachchan or Shah Rukh Khan do not guarantee box office success any more.
Though Shah Rukh didn't have any release in the last six months, most of Amitabh's films - "Nishabd", "Eklavya - The Royal Guard" and the recently released "Jhoom Barabar Jhoom" bombed. The one that succeeded was "Shootout At Lokhandwala".
After two consecutive flops "Jhoom Barabar Jhoom" and "Ta Ra Rum Pum", Yash Raj Films is facing a rough patch. So much so that the failure has created a rift between Yash Chopra and his son Aditya, who handles the production business.
Now the Chopras are pinning their hopes on Shah Rukh's "Chak De India" and "Aaja Nach Le".
The films that sank without trace at the box office include "Kudiyon Ka Hai Zamana", "Anwar", "Risk", "Salaam-E-Ishq", "Undertrial", "Eklavya - The Royal Guard", "Nishabd", "Nehlle Pe Dehlla", "1971", "Red", "Sarhad Paar", "Hattrick", "Just Married", "Delhii Heights", "Khanna & Iyer", "Shakalaka Boom Boom", "Life Mein Kabhie Kabhiee", "Big Brother", "Kya Love Story Hai", "Yatra", "Good Boy Bad Boy", "Ek Chalis Ki Last Local", "Raqeeb", "Fool N Final", "The Train", "Red Swastik", "Mera Pehla Pehla Pyaar" and "Swami".