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KANK, big hit overseas
Arthur J Pais

A still from KANK
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August 16, 2006 13:03 IST
Many viewers found the first half of Karan Johar's [Images] Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna more entertaining; many also thought that the film was a bit over the top in the second half. And some, especially the older moviegoers, thought the climax was not true to Indian tradition.
But an overwhelming chunk of moviegoers, who propelled KANK [Images] to be the highest grossing Hindi film ever in North America in its opening weekend with an awesome $1.35 million gross, may have agreed with The New York Times review.
While the review called the film's story silly and the script over-plotted, it still proclaimed KANK was 'surprisingly watchable'.
The Times wrote the film, which also broke records in the United Kingdom and has reportedly grossed a jaw-dropping $3.5 million in the overseas markets in just three days, made compelling viewing mainly because of its performances. It also praised Johar for his deft handling of the lighter moments, while deploring the way the non-desi New Yorkers were portrayed in his film., which gave the film three stars out of maximum five, declared: 'As to be expected, there are plenty of tears but sadly few genuine emotions in this melodrama that is taboo by Bollywood standards, but tame by any real measure'.
Though many fans thought Abhishek Bachchan [Images] was the real scene-stealer, there is no denying that Shah Rukh Khan's [Images] immense popularity abroad, which turned the domestic flop Paheli into a hit overseas, gave KANK a very big boost.    
The film's weekend record in Britain is even more impressive, considering that it is playing there in 60 theatres, four theatres less than in North America. While KANK, which has the highest weekend gross in North America after Johar's Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham ($1 million in 2001), was at number 17 on the box-office list there, it was number six in Britain with a $1.4 million gross. And it fetched 30 per cent more than K3G.
A still from OmkaraNext week will be crucial for the film. If it does not plunge by more than 40 percent, it might succeed in beating the $6.7 million K3G grossed in North America and Britain. In North America, though, it will write the records if it beats Deepa Mehta's Water, the highest grossing Hindi film which is ending its run with a $5.3 million gross. But unlike K3G and KANK, the controversial Water has seen most of its business in mainstream theatres across the continent.
While KANK is hogging all the limelight, let us not forget the resilient Omkara, which stole $170,000 in North America, almost reaching $1 million while across the Atlantic, it has grossed an impressive $500,000 in three weeks. The riveting performance by  Saif Ali Khan [Images], who has built a solid fan base overseas in the past three years, is one reason why Omkara [Images] is having a profitable run abroad. Its steady overseas box-office performance has surprised the box-office pundits in India 
Despite the success of Omkara and Fanaa and the jaw-dropping collections of KANK, there was little to cheer the distributors of other Hindi films abroad. Anthony Kaun Hai was a dismal flop, and so was the long delayed Salman Khan [Images] movie Shaadi Karke Phas Gaya Yaar.

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