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January 11, 2000


Mela opens to decent audience Send this story to a friend

Komal Nahta

Aamir Khan in Mela It is simply not the year for brothers in films. First Dillagi and now Mela. Both the films pitted brothers opposite each other and both failed to create magic at the box-office.

Dillagi was a bomb. Mela isn't so bad, but it is not encouraging either. It's doing well in Bihar, C P Berar, C I and Rajasthan, but that's about all.

What's most surprising is that both these 'brotherly' films opened to lukewarm responses. After Dillagi, Mela too recorded collections far below the house-full mark on opening day. The second and third day collections at places where Eid was celebrated on Saturday were pretty good, almost 100 per cent.

Where Muslims observed Eid on Sunday, box-office takings on the third day were brilliant, but were on the lower side on the first two days. For instance, collections on day one and two in Bombay city and its suburbs were about 80-85 per cent of house-full capacities. On Sunday, which was also Eid in Bombay, figures shot up to 95 per cent, the five per cent drop coming in only the matinee (12 noon) shows.

What's quite alarming, as far as Mela is concerned, is the fact that it has been sold to distributors at a price of Rs 22.5 million per circuit. Obviously, it was the super-hit combination of director Dharmesh Darshan and hero Aamir Khan (Raja Hindustani) that actually lured the distributors into acquiring Mela.

Phir bhi price hai Rs 10 million

Shah Rukh Khan's Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani has broken all previous records in Gujarat even before its release. The Bombay distributor has sold the sub-distribution rights of the film for Gujarat for the highest ever price of Rs 10 million.

Gujarat is about 25 per cent of the entire Bombay circuit. By implication, it would mean that the value of the film for the entire Bombay circuit is Rs 40 million! Wow!! This, when nobody has seen the film. Obviously it is the magic of Shah Rukh, the actor, coupled with Shah Rukh, the debutant producer.

The sound of music

Rajinikanth in Bulandi Bulandi, unlike Mela and Phir Bhi..., was sold for a very reasonable price (barely Rs 12.5 million). But it opened to absolutely dismal houses, recording 30-35 per cent collections on the opening day.

In both Bulandi and Mela, it is the music that ensured they didn't open to full houses. After all, the public is fed heavy doses of a film's music and its songs before the film is actually released these days. If they aren't good enough, a dull opening is almost a foregone conclusion.

Akshay's career still shaky

Akshay Kumar in Jaanwar Jaanwar may have done reasonably well in a fourth of India, but it doesn't seem to have helped Akshay Kumar. Frankly, Akshay's career is in such bad shape that nothing short of a universal hit can really help him.

Until now, he had Dharmesh Darshan's Dhadkan to boast about because Dharmesh was real hot property. But the equations have changed after Mela and the one likely to suffer is the most is Akshay. He can no longer ride on the success of Raja Hindustani and tom-tom about Dhadkan, since there's a Mela in between.

The career that refuses to twinkle

Twinkle Khanna had better consult a palmist or an astrologer. Things are just not going right for the daughter of two talented artistes like Rajesh Khanna and Dimple Kapadia.

Baadshah didn't work and, now, it's Mela. In the latter, her voice was dubbed by a professional dubbing artiste. And although she has done a swell job, Twinkle's performance has come in for all-round criticism. Wonder if even Faisal Khan will bag more films because, in this industry, you are only as successful as your last release.

Whither felicitation?

The Association of Artistes' Secretaries felicitated B R Chopra recently for bagging the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke award. Considering that Chopra keeps lamenting he can't make films in the present atmosphere where artistes give dates by the hours instead of days and months, it would have been a better honour if the secretaries had assured Chopra that their artistes, if signed by him, would give him bulk dates. That, perhaps, would have been a more sensible and practical felicitation -- and a novel one too! Imagine, a maker of the calibre of B R Chopra being disillusioned about an industry to which he has given so much.


Hrithik Roshan and Amisha Patel in Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai All eyes are on Rakesh Roshan's Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai. The interest is not so much in the film as it is on the new hero and heroine he will be introducing. Also, Hrithik Roshan and Amisha Patel happen to be the first debutants of the new millennium.

More importantly, the industry is in dire need of new faces. As of now, film-makers have just the three Khans, besides a handful of other heroes to bank upon. As a smart alec remarked, "Why 3K? That's the film industry's problem." And, unlike the media hype around Y2K, this problem is for real!

A lovable rascal

The music release of Kamal Haasan's Hey! Ram on January 7 was a cosy affair. The film's artistes and technicians addressed the gathering at the Taj and all of them had only words of praises for the actor-producer-director.

Om Puri called Kamal a "lovable rascal." He praised his boundless energy and wondered which chakki ka aata he ate. Shah Rukh Khan was very late and apologised for the delay. But nobody really took offence for, like Kamal, Shah Rukh is also playing a double role -- that of an actor and a producer. His Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani is due for release on January 21.

Will old be gold?

While no film is making the grade at the box office, causing panic in trade circles, industry watchers are anxiously awaiting the release of at least two films, Pukar and Phir Bhi... Both these films star heroines who are past their prime, career-wise. It would be interesting to see whether the audience still prefers the old guard in comparison to the younger heroines. The Twinkles and the Raveenas have failed to make the box-office registers ring. Let's wait and see if the Madhuris and the Juhis can do it.

Mohabbatein's magical music

The music of Aditya Chopra's Mohabbatein seems a major winner. That, at least, is the prediction of the Rajasthan distributor of the film. He heard one of the song being hummed by Aditya's mother and Yash Chopra's wife, Pamela, and was mighty impressed!

Pamela, incidentally, is a singer in her own right and Yash Chopra's films usually have one song rendered by her. Coming back to Mohabbatein, Jatin-Lalit's music is something to look forward to, if distributor Sunil Bansal's prediction is anything to go by.

A look at the week

Rating Film Production House Verdict Position Last Week
1 Mela Venus Average (Above average in Hindi belt) New
2 Hum Saath-Saath Hain Rajshri Hit 1
3 Jaanwar Shree Krishna Intl Average (Above average in Hindi belt) 2
4 Bulandi Maa Sherawali Productions Flop New
5 Vaastav Adishakti Above average
(Hit in Maharashtra)
6 Taal Mukta Arts Above average
(Flop in parts)
7 Deep Blue Sea Warner Above average 4
8 Khoobsurat Jhamu Sugandh Flop 8
9 King Cobra Star Entertainment Average 7
10 Dahek M J Films Disaster 10

Komal Nahta edits the popular trade magazine, Film Information.

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