The month of July and the first week of August too haven’t been impressive with ‘Ek Villain Returns’ and ‘Shamshera’ not living up to the audience’s expectations. Coming up this week we have bankable stars like Aamir Khan and Akshay Kumar with their respective releases. The trade buzz around Aamir Khan’s ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ and Akshay Kumar’s ‘Raksha Bandhan’ is that both are likely to open between 10cr and 15cr on day one of their release.
Distributor and exhibitor Raj Bansal feels that Aamir Khan’s ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ has begun getting positive reviews even before its release. He says, “The initial response seems to be good and as I told earlier, the buzz around LSC will be positive. And I can see it opening at about 15cr to Rs 18cr. ‘Raksha Bandhan’ will be around Rs 10cr.”
Trade pundit and film producer Girish Johar is quite optimistic and feels Aamir Khan’s loyal fan base will help in the success of the film. He says, “Aamir Khan is coming after a gap of 4 years. He has a loyal and wider fan base in India and overseas as well. And he has been very true while promoting ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’. And whatever early feedback that we have right now, the reports are fantastic. The advance booking is good for the film. I believe that the film will earn anywhere around 13-15 Cr. on Day 1.”
He further adds, “We all know that Akshay Kumar and Aanand L Rai is a deadly combination. Aanand L Rai is a master of human emotions and ‘Raksha Bandhan’ is an apt film for the Rakhi and Independence Day week. The music is very good and it has touched the emotional chord. The team is aggressively promoting the film not only in India but overseas as well. So, the traction of the film is quite good. Having said that, I believe that it’s an urban upmarket film. So, I feel that it should open anywhere in the range of 10 Cr plus. There’s a good chance of both films doing well because of strong word of mouth and both films having successful long-run at the box office.”
There are some who feel that the publicity of both the films have not been able to create the kind of buzz that often happens around the two actors’ films. Trade analyst Komal Nahta is not impressed with the advance bookings of the two films. He says, “Now it’s the survival of the fittest. If people don’t improve, they will be thrown out of this industry. I don’t know the figures but I don’t think both films will open well. Because advance booking is not so good. If there’s good word of mouth, then it will become a blockbuster. But advance booking is not so encouraging which a holiday weekend film such as these deserve.”
Raj Bansal feels that 2022 is not going to be impressive for Bollywood. He says, “There are no big ticket releases and one film that we know is ‘Brahmastra’ but there is a big question mark and I can say things will look up from January 2023. It is also going to be the busiest year for Bollywood.”
Komal Nahta maintains that 2022 will be a bad year for Bollywood. He says, “Generally speaking, people have trash films and they’re getting trashed at the box office, deservedly so.” So what will it take to turn the tables for the film industry? “They need to pull up their socks. Work hard on scripts and music. Except Karan Johar, nobody is working hard on music. Songs from ‘Jugjugg Jeeyo’ and ‘Brahmastra’ are superhit. The makers are doing
kaamchori that yeh toh chal jayega. Public itna nahin sochti. Public jitna sochti hai na just accept it and give them what they want,” suggests Nahta.
Aamir Khan is known to be the man who started the Rs 300 crore club at the box office but the pandemic changed it all. “After the pandemic the equilibrium has been lost. Earlier, a 100Cr film was basic, people talked about the business of a film. Now if a film does 40-50-60 Cr also, people think that it’s bringing the audience back. So, right now the macro perspective is to get the audience to come back to the cinemas. Also, the films have been old. If you see whatever releases we had so far, they are stuck up releases because of the pandemic. Post-pandemic new releases are yet to come. By then I think the equilibrium in the ecosystem of the box office will be settled. So, all in all it is taking time but it is showing good signs of recovery,” Girish Johar signs off.