Rush of good, bad and indifferent films this week
The box office has never seemed more cluttered. Last week, five films were released and this Friday is even more crowded with films as diverse as the titillating "Shaque" and the aesthetic "Dance Like a Man" jostling for space.
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
Some of last week's films like Shashi Ranjan's "Dobara" were such miserable failures that they had to be taken off several theatres before the week was done.
Some releases this Friday could go the same way with films of every size, mood and genre being released -- all fighting to attract audiences during the long holiday weekend with Saturday being a national holiday for Gandhi Jayanti.
The fare includes flops-before-release like "Bhola In Bollywood", apparently a takeoff on a Bihari buffoon's adventures, a la Asrani's "Chala Murari Hero Ban-ne". Then there're the two aimed-to-titillate films "Tauba Tauba" and "Shaque", both of which have been stuck with the censors.
There's also the Om Puri starrer "AK-47", the cops' film "Satya Bol" and films targeted at metro audiences -- "Let's Enjoy", "Popcorn Khao Mast Ho Jao" and "Dance Like a Man".
"Tauba Tauba" faced objections for showing a schoolboy fantasising about his teacher (Payal Rohatgi).
To the objections raised by some teachers' associations, the makers of "Tauba Tauba" argued that 'student' Shah Rukh Khan also fantasised about 'teacher' Sushmita Sen in "Main Hoon Na".
But the intention of the filmmaker is what differentiates art from sleaze. This is also true of "Shaque", which is being projected as a film with a 'topless' scene featuring its leading lady.
The days of sleazy products are limited.
Action? You get it this week in TV director Sanjay Upadhyay's feature debut "Satya Bol". Yet another cops film in a year with a khaki glut, "Satya Bol" features newcomers and TV stars who can't even begin to get audiences interested.
For more action this week there's "AK-47", a film that its leading man Om Puri is openly embarrassed about (he says he did it for money). It is a remake of a south Indian hit and is expected to appeal to audiences in north Indian 'B' and 'C' centres.
Then there are the films targeted at metro audiences. "Let's Enjoy", featuring Ashish Chowdhary (seen earlier this year in "Shadi Ka Laddoo" and "Girlfriend") and model-actress Aditi Govatriker's sister Arzoo, is yet another product aimed at the young, urban metro audience.
It's likely to be completely wiped by debutant director Kabir Sadanand's "Popcorn Khao Mast Ho Jao", which aims at exactly the same audience as "Let's Enjoy" but has been packaged and marketed by producers Pritish Nandy Communications with their trademark acumen. Unlike "Let's Enjoy", "Popcorn Khao..." is in Hindi, instantly raising the level of audience participation.
Among all the releases this week, "Popcorn Khao..." is the only one likely to find a hardcore audience.
The final film this week, "Dance Like A Man" directed by the splendidly gifted Pamela Rooks, is a very special niche film. A delicately delineated film about classical Indian dancing, it's deliberately being released at very selected shows by its distributors Shringar Films who believe it's always wise to not oversell their film to the audience.
While "Dance Like A Man" is bound to find its aesthetic level, "Popcorn Khao..." with its blend of steam and youth, has evoked enough curiosity to ensure itself a good run.
As for the rest of the films this week, they don't stand a chance in hell. And I suspect the producers know it.