Director Soham Shah’s last film Kaal released on 29 April 2005. As luck would have it, and no pun is intended here, it took the writer and director of the film more than four frustrating years to come up with his next film, Luck, which released last Friday. The film was to be initially produced by Karan Johar but once Shah moved out of Dharma Productions, the film got inordinately delayed as he had to start all over again to find a producer to back him up.
Shah comes with enough experience, having assisted Ram Gopal Varma on Bhoot and Johar on Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, which prompted someone to quip that his next film could well be called “When Dharma met Varma”.
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Expectations from Shah in the trade were high, and he did manage to put together a terrific ensemble cast for the action flick, with Sanjay Dutt, Imran Khan and Shruti Hassan, and a strong supporting cast of Mithun Chakraborty, Danny Denzongpa and Ravi Kissen.
True to the film’s appeal and hype, Luck, which is being produced by Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision Ltd, released with almost 345 prints and in 980 screens in India. The film had an equally wide overseas release with about 135 prints in 150 screens. While reviews were very disappointing, its opening figures in single screens was impressive. In multiplexes, the film barely managed an above average start on Friday.
Despite the fact that the trade was in a hurry to write the film off, Luck clocked in a decent weekend distributor share of almost Rs6 crore. But collections began to drop from Monday onwards and it will eventually close its first week at Rs7.5 crore and will wind up at about Rs 10-11 crore distributor share in India. In the overseas market, the film is expected to do a just about decent business of Rs2-3 crore.
But, yet again, the dampener has been the price at which “all rights” of Luck were acquired by the Indian Film Co. (IFC). Against the price of Rs52 crore including print and advertising (P&A), IFC will only be able to recover Rs22-23 crore against all rights, thereby incurring a loss of almost Rs30 crore. This loss makes another strong statement against the skewed pricing structure of the film industry, which requires immediate correcting.
While Shah took about four years to make his next film, the other release of the week, Perfect Mismatch, starring Anupam Kher, Boman Irani, Nandana Sen and Anubhav Anand, managed to secure a theatrical release after three years of it being ready and in waiting. The film released in about 60 screens across India and was almost a non-starter.
Out at last: A still from Luck. The film, which was to be initially produced by Karan Johar, got inordinately delayed as director Shah stepped out of Dharma Productions and had to launch a fresh hunt for a producer.
We come next to Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian or NATM 2, directed by Shawn Levy and starring some of Hollywood’s biggest comedy stars such as Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Robin Williams, Amy Adams, Hank Azaria, Steve Coogan and Ricky Gervais.
Interestingly, the first part of the film was released in India only in the Hindi version. This perhaps resulted in a lot of English speaking audiences being not familiar with the franchise since the English version of the film was made available in India only when its home video was formally released.
With that disadvantage, NATM 2 released with 140 prints and in about 175 screens in English and Hindi. Unfortunately, the film got average reviews and the film will close the week at Rs1 crore and may finally wind up at Rs1.25 crore, which is disappointing when compared to what NATM 2 grossed in the US market: at least $380 million (Rs1,843 crore).
Finally, let’s put an end to the debate that has been going on about whether or not Kambakkht Ishq has become the second film after New York to cross the Rs17.5 crore mark in net collections at the top six multiplex chains to secure the additional 2.5% higher share from multiplexes in weeks 1 and 2.
Much to the relief of the multiplex owners, the film is yet to touch the magic figure and hence is not eligible for the additional revenues. But we are monitoring the collections and will, of course, keep you posted on new developments.
The films being released on Friday are Love Aaj Kal, and the cult Chinese language epic Red Cliff in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu versions.
Ashish Saksena is an executive with extensive experience in India’s entertainment sector and was previously CEO of PVR Pictures. His column looks at the business side of Bollywood releases.
Respond to his columns at firstname.lastname@example.org