Friday, 7 September, 2007

BollyBoxOffice-This week

First weekend performance of latest release

How much I have been proved wrong! All this while I had a strong belief (even reflected in last week's column) that whatever be the eventual box office status of RAM GOPAL VARMA KI AAG, the least it would do is get a good box office opening. After all AAP KAA SURROOR is a living example of how hype and curiosity (negative or positive) can bring in audience.

Sadly, it didn't quite happen for RAM GOPAL VARMA KI AAG that neither got anywhere close to flames nor stayed on to show any sparks. The film simply failed after the first show itself and by the time Friday came to a close, it was crystal clear that the film had disappointed one and all. It was always expected that the film would fetch extreme reactions from people (nothing wrong with it) but an all around hostility was something that the cruelest of critic, audience or industry insider had not predicted.

So what went wrong? Was it just the comparison factor or a film being plain bad or any conspiracy? Well, rule out conspiracy because if that always worked then some of the biggest box office gainers from past and present may not have worked. Was it the film being plain bad? Well, let's get it right. Coming from a film maker other than RGV may probably not have fetched such extreme reactions. Yes, the film did disappoint but it wasn't the kind that was unbearable in entirety or didn't have a minute of anything which was redeeming.

In the nutshell, it is clear that it was the SHOLAY comparison coupled with huge expectations from the film maker simply killed the film at the box office.

VICTORIA NO. 203 had it's maximum hopes on picking up by word of mouth. Well, but what can one say about a film that didn't have a word of mouth at all. With as low as 10% occupancy at number of centers on the first day followed by all around negative vibes that it generated, the film has been a non-starter at the box office. With no USP to boast, lukewarm promotion, zero hype and overall being an average product, it is set to be a looser at the box office.

Third release of the week DHOKHA isn't expected to fare any better in spite of good word of mouth by those who saw the film. The sad part is that the film was hardly seen by many which didn't give rise to a kind of spread that Bhatts would have been hoping for positive vibes over the weekend. The film's best aspect is discovery of Muzammil followed by Pooja Bhatt's best direction till date. A good subject treated quite well, the film may just loose out at box office but has good prospects on DVD circuits if marketed better than the way it's theatrical release has been.

Last week's movies

It's confirmed. HEYY BABYY has taken the second best start at the box office this year after PARTNER and is now one of the best openers in the history of Indian cinema. Raking in excess of 27 crore across the country, the film had close to 5.5 crores coming from Mumbai followed by Delhi being strong at 2.5 crores. Delhi NCR was very good too at 1.35 crores while Ahmedabad too crossed the 1 crore mark. In all a recipe that reads a definite hit at the box office.

The film's second week is also expected to be strong due to AAG fiasco though it would be interesting to observe if the film manages to cross PARTNER's 60 crore + total. Reason? DHAMAAL releases this weekend and the film is carrying excellent reports. It may just prove to be too much of a competition but more about that later. Sajid Khan now finds himself in the A league of directors and he should be choosing his next project extremely carefully due to high level of expectations from him going further.

There is nothing at all to say about KAISEY KAHEN since it is a colossal disaster of the highest degree with less than 10 lakhs coming from the box office across the country!

From the past

Talking about disasters, MARIGOLD now sits at the top of the list for Salman Khan's all time biggest box office disasters with the film being pulled out of theaters in one week flat. With no more addition to it's total of 75 lakhs, the film's collections are lesser than some of the soft porn films that are released at regular intervals.

BUDDHA MAR GAYA is another addition to the flops in 2007 with more than 90% fall over the second week. Raking in just 20 lakhs, the film has fallen very badly and is closing at a total of 3 crores. Since the film was made at a shoe string budget, the losses would be minimal and makers can expect the DVD sales and satellite re-runs to compensate for it. Yet another film this season apart from RGV KI AAG that was criticized by almost everyone and everyone (even if most had probably not even seen the film)!

With the third week of CHAK DE INDIA also holding quite strong in spite of competition from more popular cinema like HEYY BABYY, this Shimit Amin/Jaideep Sahni/Shahrukh Khan film is now a Superhit. Less than 50% in the third week has resulted in 8.5 crore more coming in to bring the total to 45 crores. This is for a movie that was stated to be offbeat/unconventional to begin with and had doubts around it's entertainment quotient! Collecting close to 1.75 crore from Mumbai, 1.2 crores from Delhi and 65 lakhs further from Delhi NCR, CHAK DE INDIA is a winner all over.

The film's anthem composed by Salim-Sulaiman is now the sports anthem across India as well as abroad, something that can be witnessed from all the victory cheers around recent cricket and hockey wins for India. Many girls from the film are also being noticed with Vidya Malvade getting a fresh lease in her career and Sagarika Ghatge getting the best of offers.

Taking a 50% fall in collections but still staying into the Top-3 charts, PARTNER has made another 1 crore in it's 6th week. At 61.5 crores, the film is now breathing it's last and should wrap up with another 75 lakhs or so in it's kitty over next 3 weeks. Lara Dutta finds herself into the big league again after critical acclaim in JHOOM BARABAR JHOOM followed by tremendous box office success in PARTNER.

In the future

One sincerely hopes that Ram Gopal Varma's DARLING doesn't get engulfed into the negative fire that AAG has created. A film that looks genuinely well made while reminding of the director's vintage BHOOT, it still doesn't promise to shake the box office with it's opening. All it's hopes lie in word of mouth since the opening isn't expected to be promising. On the other hand DHAMAAL is expected to take a good opening (60%-70%) and if industry insiders are to be believed, it has all in it to show 100% collections by Sunday. Reason? The film is said to be extremely well made and total 'dhamaal'. Expect fireworks from this laughaton.

AMMA's all stars movie starts this November

A year after its initial announcement, the film produced by AMMA has finally announced its shooting dates.

The movie produced by Dileep on behalf of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) will have an ensemble cast which includes all the big names of Malayalam movie industry.

To be directed by Joshy, the film stars Mammootty, Mohanlal, Suresh Gopi, Dileep, Jayaram, Naren, Prithviraj, Indrajith and Jayasuriya in important roles.

The film is planned to start by the 16th of November. The script writers Sibi Udayan who has just completed the scripts is giving final touches to this biggest project in Mollywood.

Mammootty - Anwar Rasheed Again - Double Role

Mammootty in his career span stretching to more than 25 years had been quite unlucky with the double role characters that he portrayed.

He was seen in a very few double roles in his more than 300 odd films. The only few films that run well are Dada Saheb and Samrajyam, which were big hits of the years.

Now after a long time Mammootty is again appearing in a double role in the new film by Anwar Rasheed, who has delivered the biggest success of his career in Raja Manikayam.

The film, not yet titled will have him donning the roles of two brothers. Scripted by Benny P Naayarambalam, the film is expected to start by the end of November.

Once again produced by Marikkar Films, this Mammootty starrer will have music by Rahul Raj. The finalization of the scripts and the crew are in the last stages.

Tuesday, 4 September, 2007

Vimala Raman romances Dileep

Vimala Raman seems to the biggest find of the year in Malayalam, as she is cast continuously against big stars.

Even though none of her films made big talk at the box office, still she has two big releases in Nasrani opposite Mammootty and in College Kumaran opposite Mohanlal.

She had recently been with Dileep in Calcutta News in a short cameo, but not as his heroine. After being the female lead of Suresh Gopi, Mammooty and Mohanlal, she is now finally becoming the heroine of Dileep in the next film Romeo.

The movie directed by Rajasenan, after a long gap is scripted by Rafi -Mecartin.

Nayanthara bags female lead in Vijay's Kuruvi

Nayantara has orchestrated a coup of sort.

Nayanthara, who appeared for an item number in Vijay's Sivakasi,
will play his heroine in Kuruvi. She is now acting in a couple of films including Billa and Yaradi Nee Mohini.

Initially the role was set to go to Trisha. Apparently she pulled out due to call-sheet problems. Trisha is the number one heroine in Tamil now. She is playing the female lead in Bheema and Goutham Menon's untitled film.

The new movie Kuruvi is directed by Dharani and produced by Chief Minister M Karunanidhi's grandson
Udhayanidhi. Dharani, Vijay and music composer Vidyasagar, who came together to create magic on screen with Ghilli, are back again for Kuruvi.

Vijay after completing the shooting for Azhagiya Tamil Magan and is expected to commence shooting for Kuruvi.
The film will hit the screens on 14 April, 2008.

Dileep -Siddique come together

Siddhique, the ace director of Malayalam has been keeping away from the industry after the superhit film Chronic Bachelor with Mammootty.

He had done a few in Tamil in these days, but due to some mysterious reasons he opted not to direct any in Malayalam.

The director, who is presently busy in Tamil with his latest flick with Kavya Madhavan and Prasanna titled Sadhu Mirandal, had finally decided to make a come back to his home language.

Siddhique will now direct a movie with Dileep in the lead, which is planned for next Vishu. The director, who is famous for converting his every film into major hits, will be supported in this venture by Johnny Sagarika.

Dileep is appearing for the first time in a Siddhique movie. The director will also pen the script for the film. The other cast and crew of the film are being finalized.

Sunday, 2 September, 2007


Lohithadas has been in his best in the past, contributing fresh story lines to films that always captured the heart of the Malayalam viewer’s. But recently this industry's most dependable writer-director has been keeping away from business for quite a time and even his comeback in Chakkaramuthu couldn't make any impressive watch. So for Naivedhyam, he has attempted a rehash of the best tried and tested formula in Malayalam, taking bits and pieces from many hit films like Sallapam, Ee Puzhayam Kadannu, Nandhanam and Kasthooriman. Any way the result is a film which comes with his own brand of narration, giving us an endearing watch, this Onam.

Naivedhyam is a simple film, revolving around simple characters. Yet, it works, partly because the story defies the regular stereotype, due to its super-efficient performances and partly due to the well-crafted screenplay and convincing storytelling.

The film's opening hastily sketches the life of Mohana Krishnan, an outspoken Brahmin guy who is presently into carpentry work to keep his family comprising of his widowed mother and sister. He is the son of C .K, a famous dramatist, who fought for the rights of writers. Even after his father's death, Mohana Krishnan managed to study all arts and crafts till his plus two, but as his family's prospects fell on his shoulders, he left his traditions to find better jobs to maintain his family intact. Forwarded by one of his father's friend lyricist Kaithapram, who happens to meet him in a composing session, Mohana Krishnan arrives at the Kovilakom, headed by Ramavarma Thampuram, a pious aged man who was a dear student of Chembai Vaidhya Natha Bhagavathar.

Mohana Krishnan was looking for a job at Kovilakom, but the financial position of the Tharavadu was not so bright that they cannot offer any job for him. But as the health of the elderly priest in the Tharavadu temple owned by the Kovilakam was declining, Ramavarma Thampuran deputes him to assist him at the temple. Although he doesn't know much about mantras and rituals, the old priest gives him necessary training and entrusts him with the rituals of the temple while keeping a supervisory role for himself.

As the Keezh Santhi (Assistant Priest) comes, the prospects of the temple brighten as he works day and night to keep the rituals of the temple, and to invite the people from the surroundings to the temple. The young priest very soon become the object of fancy of every one and grabs the attention of many young women, including the heroine Sathya Bhama, who is an orphan, the illegal daughter of a lady who committed suicide for her misdeeds. She and her grand mother live in a separate house away from their relatives, selling the Pappads that they make for a living.

Sathya Bhama also has her share of agonies as she is in constant threat from one of his cousins Surendran, a reckless goonda who is hell bound on marrying her. And when ever he comes to her house, she finds solace in the temple outskirts. As Mohana Krishan also stays in the temple, they starts meeting there on nights at a regular basis and eventually circumstances force them to fall in love. And as usual with every love stories, not everything is going in their favor, as they are caught red handed, from inside the temple.... Though the starting of the film is just about okay, it gains momentum after initial few reels. And with the sequences of monologues of Mohana Krishnan with the Deity Krishnan, the film climbs a steady lane, comfortably placed and paced. There’s also an absence of comedians or sub tracks to test our patience, making for a different experience.

The debutant Vinoo Anand as Mohana Krishan towers over everyone else with a mind-blowing performance. He has guarded his family traditions with a wonderful and a fitting debut. It's rare for an actor to get such a difficult role in his very first film. It is even more difficult for the newcomer to carry it on, but Vinoo never falters with a feel free body language and is definitely the backbone of the film, right till the end of the movie, which keep the viewer engrossed definitely an actor, to watch.

Bhama as Sathya Bhama is not just a photogenic face, but also proved as a first-rate actor, showing the jhalaks of another Manju Warrier in the making. She has got charismatic eyes, and does full justice to her character and with a little more refurbishment on emoting skills, she can easily climb the ladders of audience approval. Her chemistry with Vinoo Anand is also amazing - they are a fresh pair, good looking, and simple - and so is their love.

Nedumudi Venu and Bharath Gopi make exceptional towering performances in other prominent characters. Aparna, Athulya, Kochu Preman, Sreehari and a bunch of freshers are also adequate in their respective roles.

M. Jayachandran’s music is another highpoint of the film, with the songs that have a different sound and the placement of each track in the narrative make you cherish them all the more. Oda Kuzhal Vili Ketto is the pick among the five songs in the movie.

Cinematography by debutant Sajan Kalathil is consistent and show promise. The locales of Palakkad and the sets especially that of the big temple by art director Prashanth Madhav give the film that extra zing. Adding to the film's plus points are its feel good tempo and duration.

An enjoyable film, all in all even though the film could have been better if it had some fresh progressive content. Nevertheless, in these days of blunt remakes, the audience should be happy with something that takes only bits and pieces.

CBI from Delhi - Suresh Gopi Shaji Kailas

After essaying the roles of detectives and police officers to perfection, Suresh Gopi is now donning the role of a C B I officer. His new film with Shaji Kailas C B I From Delhi will have him as the lead protagonist.

The film will be produced by Pyramid Saimira productions, who are planning to produce another ten films for the year.

The last two films of Shaji Kailas' Time and Alibhai couldn't rise up to audience expectations. So this time the director will also have to prove his audience pulling powers, once again.

Chak De script goes to the Oscar Library

Many observers have commented that the Chak De India had two heroes: Shah Rukh Khan and the script. It seems that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences agrees.

The Academy (which among other responsibilities hosts & hands out the Oscar Awards) has requested a copy of the screenplay for the permanent script collection. The scripts in the collection reside at the Margaret Herrick Library and are made accessible for research purposes only; students, filmmakers, writers and actors are among the regular patrons. Screenplays may only be viewed in the library; they do not circulate. Also, no screenplay is allowed to be photocopied.

The invitation is recognition that the screenplay of Chak De India is comparable with the best in the world; and will become an invaluable asset for future generations of filmmakers. As the movie goes from strength to strength at the box office, it is a tribute to the entire team that helped make Chak De India such a universal success , critically and commercially.

Vikram on remake of rajnis Moondru Mugham

After Ajith, it is turn of Vikram to try his hands at a Rajnikanth remake.

Ajith is currently acting in the remake of yesteryear Rajnikanth hit Billa. Vishnuvardhan directs the new version and it features Nayanthara and Namitha in prominent roles.

Meanwhile, sources say Vikram has been approached to work in the remake of another Rajnikanth film. Moondru Mugam, which featured Rajnikanth in triple roles, might be remade soon.

Vikram had earlier expressed his desire to be part of such a film.

Buzz is that director Hari, who wielded the megaphone for Vikram starrer Samy, might direct the remake version.

Azhagiya Tamil Magan makes money

Quite appropriate to its name, Vijay's Azhagiya Tamil Magan's (ATM) has made enough money even before its release.

According to reports, producer Appachan has made enough money from the movie even before its release.

Buzz is that Azhagiya Tamil Magan has made a new record among Vijay films in terms of business.

It is said that Pyramid Saimira Theatres had brought the distribution rights of Azhagiya Tamil Magan for a whopping amount of Rs 25 crore.

With shooting is expected to complete soon, it is expected that the film would hit theatres on Deepavali. Directed by Bharathan, Azhagiya Tamil Magan has Shreya and Namitha opposite Vijay.

Sibi Malayil - Mohanlal team with Flash

Sibi Malayil has kept away from Malayalam film industry due to some petty issues with the producers association, following a petition from the producer of his last film Amrutham about the bad audio track, the film carried. But now the associations have cleared off the allegations made against the talented director and have lifted the ban enforced on him. In his comeback Sibi is more energetic than ever announcing his two films with Mohanlal, back to back.

The first film titled Flash will start by the first week of October. The film scripted by S Bhasurachandran, an eminent journalist is a suspenseful film which has Note Book fame Parvathy in the lead. Produced by Tomichan in the banner of Mulakupadam films, will be the Christmas release of the star.

The second film of Sibi Malayil will witness the reunion of Lohitha Das with the master director. The film titled as Bheeshmar will start by March of 2008

Raudram turns to Shauryam

Scriptwriter turned director Renji Panikkar who has just started shooting for his Mammootty starrer has changed the tile of the film. The film which was earlier titled as Raudram will now be called as Shauyram.

The film which is another critique of social events is very crucial for Mammootty, who is in quite confusion after two debacles of his recent movies. Shauyram is produced by Marikkar films who are celebrating the success of their first two ventures- Big B and hello. The film is planned as a release for mid November.