January 28, 2012 12:58:12 PM IST Rajesh Kumar Singh, Glamsham Editorial
Even while the AGNEEPATH team was celebrating its Republic Day box office performance, which was marginally better than BODYGUARD's first day, and apparently exulting over it, the second day (Friday) collections had registered a dramatic and abnormal drop of approximately 50% to 60% across the board. It's not that BODYGUARD's collections had not taken a beating after the bumper Eid day, but they had dropped by a mere 15%. AGNEEPATH producer Karan Johar must have been aware of this development while he was talking to the press on Friday evening. The media persons who were in the know of things chose to keep mum, and preferred not to play a spoilsport. Was it a deliberate move by the producer to stem the tide of impending disaster by keeping the positive buzz going in the media?
This is a bolt from the blue for everyone, including the trade pundits. The exhibitors who have paid exorbitant MGs will be a worried lot now. Everything hinges on the box office scenario on Saturday and Sunday. The collections should have as dramatic a rise as the fall on Friday. It will be disastrous for the film otherwise, signifying its wholesale rejection by the audience and a strong undercurrent of negative word of mouth, enough to seal the film's box office fate. There were stray reports that over-dramatised violent scenes were found repulsive by family audiences.
Even if the distributors break even in the final analysis, which is certain since there are no important releases next week, it will be extremely disappointing news for the film trade that had pinned big hopes on the star-studded extravaganza and the Chikni Chameli... item number to pull in the crowds and revive the sagging industry morale after the abject debacle of Abbas-Mustan's PLAYERS in the beginning of the year.
(Rajesh Kumar Singh is Editorial Consultant for Festivals and Markets for BollywoodTrade.com. He is a filmmaker, critic and market analyst)