The Hindi film industry can’t hide its excitement. Almost like a young girl going out on her first official date with her childhood crush. The buzz in Mumbai is that ‘Acche Din’ are finally here and there’s now no looking back at what has been a disastrous, to put it in polite words, first few months of 2015 at the box office. With not a single ‘Super Hit’, forget about Blockbusters, and hardly a couple of clean ‘Hits’ in the Jan-May period, the industry was clearly looking down the barrel in terms of business and revenue. But, with Tanu Weds Manu Returns (TWMR) getting a phenomenal response from the audiences all across the country, we are all set to witness the first Blockbuster of 2015. Yes, you read it right. That elusive blockbuster is finally off the block!
TWMR’s weekend collection was over 38 Crores INR, the biggest opening weekend of the year, closely matching the collections of a much-bigger film like Gabbar Is Back. In the overseas market, the film raked in close to 15 Crores, again the highest opening weekend in overseas this year, beating the previous best of 12 Crores set by Piku couple of weeks back. On the face value, these numbers may look pretty healthy but not exactly path-breaking. However, if you dig a little deeper and analyze the overall film business scenario, you will realize that TWMR is nothing less than a thunderstorm in this prolonged period of dryness at the Box Office.
If the weekend business of TWMR came as a much-needed relief to the industry, the film’s historic collections on Monday must have sparked off jubilations in the film circles. The film collected 8.5 Crores INR on its first Monday, which is equal to/slightly more than its Friday business. Such a strong hold of collections on Monday is literally unheard of in recent times and this ensures that the film will have long and strong run at the ticket windows for at least a couple of weeks. Now, 100 crores, that much-abused and much-publicized number, is definitely on the cards and the sky is the limit for TWMR, given the excellent trend at the box office.
But, for Bollywood, success of TWMR and Piku (expected India Business to be more than 80 crores), another actress-oriented film that released in early May, signals a huge paradigm shift and a definite changed pattern in what differentiates success from failure. We list down a few box office lessons from TWMR and Piku:
Before the release of Piku on 8th May, Bollywood only had three clean hits – Badlapur (Budget: 25 Crores INR, Business: 52 Crores INR), Dum Laga Ke Haisha (Budget: 15 Crores INR, Business: 30 Crores INR) and NH10 (Budget: 13 Crores INR, Business: 32 Crores INR). Badlapur and NH10 found limited appreciation among the multiplex audience and still managed to yield profits largely because of their sensible budgets. Contrast it with Bombay Velvet which is struggling to touch 25 Crores lifetime business and was made at a humungous budget of over 100 Crores INR! This period also saw the release of two films of Akshay Kumar, a huge star across India, but both of them – Baby and Gabbar Is Back – could only be best described as semi-hits with lifetime collections in the 80-90 Crore INR range. Needless to say, a little discipline from the producers, in terms of budgeting, could have easily sailed these two films into the ‘Hit’ category.
Dum Laga Ke Haisha probably had the best word of mouth of the year before Piku and TWMR hit the screens. A good word of mouth for these films ensured that even though these films didn’t open to record-breaking collections on day one, but eventually gathered steam and came into their own on their first Mondays. While TWMR pulled off a stunner by not dropping at all on its first Monday, Piku and Dum Laga Ke Haisha witnessed a miniscule 30% drop in collections compared to Friday. Piku showed how a topic as drab as motion could be the key subject of a motion picture! If your content is genuine, out-of-the-box and most importantly, as per the understanding and likes of the audience, you are very much in the game. So, grand scale, lavish sets, star power and a ‘Hollywood-ish’ look and feel would lead you nowhere! It’s no coincidence that Piku (story of a Bengali family living in CR Park), Dum Laga Ke Haisa (set in Haridwar) and TWMR (set in Haryana/Delhi/Kanpur) are all earthy and genuinely ‘Indian’ stories. Point to note for screenwriters out there.
3. Girl Power on the Rise: