Best of three

Three Bollywood films released at the beginning of August. The biggest of them just happened to fare the worst. With a star cast that boasts of Anil Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and Rajkummar Rao, Fanney Khan was easily the most expensive of the trio that included Karwaan and Mulk. Made on a reported budget of ₹35 crore and released to a respectable screen count of approximately 1200, it ended up opening at a piddly ₹1.90 crore, a very disappointing number considering the film’s cast. And now, a week and half later, the film has earned only ₹9.35 crore net, effectively ending its theatrical life. But the Hindi remake of Everybody's Famous! (2002) was already at the fag end of its shelf life within four days of its release, dipping as low as ₹ 75,000 on its first Monday. “None of the songs got any appreciation,” says Shailesh Kapoor of Ormax Media, a firm specialising in trade analysis. He adds that a botched marketing campaign with Kapoor at the forefront failed to garner any anticipation among theatre-goers as well. “Anil Kapoor has credibility, but doesn’t have the star [power] to pull audiences,” says Kapoor.

In comparison, Fanney Khan’s competitors — both relatively smaller films — Karwaan and Mulk have performed fairly well. The former, a road trip film, with Dulquer Salman, Irrfan Khan and Mithila Palkar, made ₹16.15 crore net on a budget of ₹20 crore with a limited screen count of only 900. Of note is that Karwaan managed to get substantial collections from Southern regions like Kerala and Tamil Nadu thanks to Malayalam star Salman’s popularity. It’s not the first time a South Indian actor has ventured into Bollywood. We’ve seen big stars, namely Kamal Haasan and Rajnikanth find success in Hindi films. Most recently, Dhanush attempted the feat with Raanjhanaa (2013) which made ₹61.63 crore net. “Dhanush had a proper mass debut unlike Karwaan which is a niche film,” clarifies Kapoor adding that most urban audiences would have gone to theatres on the strength of Irrfan Khan. “Dulquer is a newcomer and many people people might not even be aware of him.”

Finally, the last of the three, Mulk performed along the same lines as Karwaan, despite lower budgets and screen counts. Made on a reported figure of ₹18 crore, the film released to 800 cinemas. The Anubhav Sinha political courtroom drama emerges as a clear winner (and a close margin) with a collection of ₹16.25 crore net, the highest of the three. In spite of all the releases being largely skewed towards multiplexes, Mulk alone managed to sell tickets in non-urban areas, particularly from Uttar Pradesh and other Muslim-dominated small towns. “These collections are as much as 15% to 20% of the total revenue,” says Kapoor. After enjoying a clear first week, Karwaan and Mulk’s theatrical run is interrupted by the Independence Day mid-week releases: Gold and Satyamev Jayate. But Fanney Khan was long out of the picture (and theatres) before August 15 rolled by.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2020 12:06:38 AM |

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