BOX-OFFICE NEWS

October: Varun Dhawan starrer to be released by topmost distribution house in India

By Manishaa R

He is the new superstar on the horizon, says Shreyans Hirawat of NH Studioz, which is releasing October in India

While films starring the three Khans are considered a hot bet in the distribution market, it is Varun Dhawan’s immense box-office potential that has now drawn the attention of distribution houses. In what appears to be an index of Varun’s immense box-office appeal, one of the most distinguished distribution offices in Bollywood NH Studioz, spearheaded by the father-son team of Narendra and Shreyans Hirawat, is all set to release the Varun Dhawan starrer October all over India, “This is the first time we have acquired a Varun Dhawan film. He is already a superstar in his own right. He is versatile and has always delivered in all his films but this film will even make the few non-Varun fans follow and love him,” Shreyans Hirawat reveals.

“This is the first time we have acquired a Varun Dhawan film. He is already a superstar in his own right”- Shreyans Hirawat

However he adds that the film is backed by substance and a promising director who has never let down his audiences, “Let’s not forget that October is directed by Shoojit Sircar, who has to his credit films like Piku and Pink. Our previous association with him in Pink was a great success and Shoojit and his team have become more like family to us. We have a lot of faith in his work,” Shreyans avers, adding that they are confident about the prospects of the film at the box-office, “The film has been made with a lot of heart and loyalty and I am sure it will reflect in its box-office success” he says.

There is also a perception that the Hirawats have become wary of investing in heavily priced films starring the Khans, after the huge investment and subsequent losses they incurred in Tubelight and Harry Met Sejal, though both Salman and Shah Rukh Khan were generous to partially compensate them for the losses. Shreyans confirms that they are in no mood to take the risk despite the fact that stars like Shah Rukh and Salman share an indomitable following among the masses, “Obviously two bad experiences cannot tarnish the decade long built star values but yes we have definitely become more cautious in terms of what and where we are investing. Having said that, we are definitely open to proposals with good substance,” he avers.

The new change of perception is also an indicator that the Hirawats are now looking at substance more than star value when it comes to investing in films, “We have looked for substance in our earlier acquisitions too but now we are doubly sure about the films we are acquiring. I guess distributors are realising it too,” Shreyans argues.

He cites the example of the recently released Luv Ranjan directed film, Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety, which got a phenomenal response at the box-office and crossed the Rs 100 cr mark, despite the absence of top rung stars, “It has proved that the success and appeal for any film has a lot to do with its plot and story-line, besides the cast. I hope the industry makes more such films to revive the interest of the audiences in great story-telling,” he quips.

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Sridevi was the box-office queen who could carry a film entirely on her shoulders, say producers and distributors

Distributors would vie with each other to acquire the rights of films starring Sridevi in the 80s, when she was known as the box-office empress and India’s first lady superstar

By Manishaa R

While she left an indelible impression on the minds of her audiences with each of her characters be it her first major Hindi box-office success, Himmatwala (1983), Nagina (1986) Chandni ((1989), Mr India (1987), Lamhe (1991) or Nagina, Sridevi acquired the reputation of Indian cinema’s first lady superstar for her sole ability to carry a film on her shoulders.

Sridevi’s pairing with Amitabh Bachchan for a double role in the 1992 film Khuda Gawah further endorsed her “first lady superstar” status when she became the only actress who played a double role in a movie with Bachchan, who ruled the box-office. The film was publicized as the pairing of India’s topmost actor Amitabh Bachchan with the number one sensation, Sridevi.  Producer and noted exhibitor, Manoj Desai who signed Sridevi for the double role in Khuda Gawah recalls how the film gave Sridevi a new distinction, “That was one of her best performances in the role of a mother and daughter, one of the best costume dramas. She was one of those actresses who matched Amitabh Bachchan for the role in every aspect-her height, her persona and her box-office status of a superstar. In fact, Khuda Gawah was the only film where the heroine got credit and footage in an Amitabh starrer in the role of a mother and daughter. No other heroine in an Amitabh starrer could boast of such a role,” Desai recalled.

Apparently it took Manoj Desai some time to get a nod from Sridevi, who had her own apprehensions about how her role would eventually shape up in a Bachchan starrer, “It took me sometime to convince her. I assured her that not a single dialogue from the script would be changed and asked her to go through the script in detail. She read the script and later gave a go-ahead,” Desai recalled, adding that Sridevi matched up to Bachchan’s great professionalism and charisma, “They shared a great working rapport during the making of the film more so because both were highly disciplined and professional. Like Mr Bachchan, she would arrive on the sets with all her homework done. Moreover it was the late director Mukul Anand, who struck a fine balance between the two super talents. It was a great experience even as he ensured that their characters were equally impactful on screen.”

Apart from the status of a ‘lady superstar’, Sridevi also acquired the title of the Empress who ruled the box-office in the 80s and early 90s. At a time when most other actresses were confined to playing second fiddle to the heroes in a male-dominated industry, she was the only actress for whom directors would specially write scripts. Moreover distributors and exhibitors considered a film dominated by Sridevi was considered a big bet at the box-office

According to noted Rajasthan distributor Raj Bansal, who had the privilege of distributing several Sridevi starrers including two of her landmark films, Lamhe and Chandni, she was the only heroine in the 80s who could carry a film on her shoulders with a cent percent success rating, “I had the privilege of watching her closely from Lamhe to Chandni and Mahesh Bhatt’s Gumrah, besides Subhash Ghai’s Karma. Her talent and versatility were matchless and she ruled the hearts of the audiences at that time. She was considered the queen of the box-office,” Bansal revealed.

Apparently the craze for her films was such that distributors would vie with each other to acquire the rights, “There were no apprehensions when it came to the business of Sridevi starrers. They were considered a big bet and distributors would queue up to acquire the rights of her films. She was also one of the highest paid actresses at that time and roles were written specially for her.”

The veteran distributor, who had met Sridevi and Boney Kapoor on several occasions, also about her magical transformation in front of the camera, when he witnessed the shooting of Lamhe, which was entirely shot in Rajasthan, “Her transformation in front of the camera was amazing. After the lights would be switched off, she would return back to her own self-quiet and composed. She was also a wonderful hostess-soft-spoken and extremely polite,” Bansal recalled.

“She would stun directors by her perfect takes. She was the uncrowned queen of acting”- Subhash Ghai

It was this spontaneity and talent that helped cultivate a unique relation between the actress and millions of her fans. Veteran filmmaker Subhash Ghai who worked with Sridevi in the 1985 film, Karma recalled Sridevi’s “electrifying” transformation in front of the camera, “She was pure magic on screen. “She was an introvert by nature but she was electrifying in in front of the camera.   She would stun directors by her perfect takes and the ease and conviction with which she performed her roles. Whether it was dance, drama or romance, she was the uncrowned queen of acting in all languages in her times,” Ghai revealed. “The best thing about her was that she constantly maintained her dignity and integrity as a person in a demanding industry,” he said.

 “Sridevi starrers were considered a big bet and distributors would queue up to acquire the rights of her films”- Raj Bansal, distributor of Chandni and Lamhe

According to director Rakesh Roshan, it was Sridevi’s huge potential that prompted him to cast her in his Hindi production, Jaag Utha Insaan, followed by Bhagwaan Dada, “She was an unparalleled actor with great talent.  I was the first to bring her to Mumbai and cast Srdevi in my production, Jaag Utha Insaan. Though she had established herself as a big name in the south, I had a feeling that she had this great potential to shine in Hindi films,” Rakesh Roshan recalled.

Veteran filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, who had directed Sridevi in Mr India, aptly described her amazing energy on camera in his tribute on Instagram, “Your energy on camera was scintillating. There was not a moment on screen that you did not have the audience in your grip. Be it an emotion, a comic moment, a dance,” he said. He described the passing away of the actress as an era gone by, “It’s like an era is over. A beautiful story just ended,” he tweeted.

Born Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan, Sridevi made her Bollywood debut as a child artiste in the popular 1975 film Julie. In her impressive career spanning five decades, Sridevi worked in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada films even as she consolidated her career in the Hindi movie industry. Among her best known films in the south are 16 Vayathinile, Sigappu Rojakkal, Pathinaru Vayadhinile, Meendum Kokila and Moondram Pirai, Kshana Kshanam and Jagadeka Veerudu Atiloka Sundari.

BOX-OFFICE NEWS

Baahubali 2 in Japan: Prabhas starrer to be released in uncut extended version after box-office success of international version

By Manishaa R

After the overwhelming box-office response to the international cut version of Baahubali 2 at the Japan box-office,  local distributor Twin Co is now planning to release the original uncut version that was released in India

Baahubali-The Conclusion seems to be unstoppable in Japan.  Bowled over by the visual grandeur, action and story-telling of the epic saga, the Japanese audiences continue to patronize the film in full force, with theatres running to packed capacity after eight weeks. Looking at the overwhelming response, the Japanese distributor Twin Co is now planning to release the extended uncut version (2 hours 50 minutes) for the audiences. Kishore Kedari, Business Manager, Arka Media Works, confirmed that the decision is underway in keeping with the huge demand from Japanese audiences, “The audiences in Japan loved the international cut version of Baahubali-The Conclusion but they were so overwhelmed by the film that they are now eager to see the extended uncut version that was released in India. Twin Co is likely to release the extended version shortly in view of the huge fan-base the film has created,” Kedari revealed.

The audiences in Japan loved the international cut version of Baahubali-The Conclusion but they were so overwhelmed by the film that they are now eager to see the extended uncut version that was released in India- Kishore Kedari, Business Head, Arka Media Works

According to producer, Shobu Yarlagadda, it is the word of mouth publicity that has worked tremendously for the film in Japan, “It started off on a modest note but the collections recorded a sharp rise in the following weeks as the word of mouth spread around. I am told that the audiences there loved the scale of the film, the action and the music,” Yarlagadda said.

Meanwhile, Arka Media and the Japanese distributors are also looking at taking the Baahubali franchise to a new level, “The audiences are glued to the Baahubali franchise and Prabhas’ character in the film. We have got amazing fan art from the Japanese audiences and we keep acknowledging it on our social media accounts. They are also pitching in their own indigenous look. The fandom and patronage for the franchise is so big that there would be other avenues of taking the franchise ahead in Japan,” Kedari revealed, adding that the film was now heading for the $1million mark at the Japanese box-office. Moreover Prabhas has now become a huge sensation among the Japanese audiences, “Wherever the film releases, Prabhas becomes a sensation but he is trending in Japan in a big way. He is the Baahubali and people there find him absolutely adorable,” Kedari quipped.

 

BOX-OFFICE NEWS

YRF readies for massive Russia release of Tiger Zinda Hai after assessing huge potential for Salman Khan starrers

By Manishaa R

We are looking at Tiger Zinda Hai receiving a huge response in Russia, says Avtar Panesar, International Distribution Head, Yash Raj Films

The Salman Khan-Katrina Kaif starrer, Tiger Zinda Hai, which set the box-office on fire in India, will be the first Hindi movie to have the widest ever release in Russia in an unprecedented 70 prints. According to Avtar Panesar, Vice President, International Operations, Yash Raj Films, the decision to line up a massive Russia release was made after assessing the huge potential for Salman Khan starrers in the otherwise untapped market in Russia, “Last year, we decided to test new waters and released Sultan across a few screens in Russia. The movie received a phenomenal response from audiences. That’s when we decided to up the ante with Tiger Zinda Hai,” Panesar revealed.

Yashraj is counting on the film receiving an exceptional response in Russia, “The response to the trailer has been excellent and we believe the movie will be loved by audiences across Russia. Also the movie has been dubbed in Russian and will release with the voiceovers, so it can connect excellently with the native people there,” Panesar said.

With Russia, Yash Raj Films is now set to explore the second phase of the film’s international business in non-traditional markets. “The movie has done fantastic business in Phase 1 in the traditional markets. Phase II begins with Russia and we are hoping the movie connects universally with non-Indian diaspora,” Panesar added.

“Last year, we decided to test new waters and released Sultan across a few screens in Russia. The movie received a phenomenal response from audiences” – Avtar Panesar, Vice President, International Operations, Yash Raj Films

It may be recalled that Ali Abbas Zafar’s spy action thriller starring Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif, received an outstanding response in the overseas market. The film also succeeded in creating new records at the box-office, making Salman Khan only the second actor (after Aamir Khan) with three movies reaching the Rs 500 cr mark ($78 million) at the global box-office. The film also made it as the sixth highest Hindi grosser of all time.

BREAKING NEWS

Kick 2: Salman Khan to play a double role in this hugely anticipated sequel?

Sources reveal that the sequel to Kick, which created a riot at the box-office in 2014, may see Salman Khan playing a double role with the younger character taking on bigger challenges

By Manishaa R

The much-talked about Kick sequel which has been confirmed for a Christmas 2019 release, will witness Salman Khan back as the ‘Devil’ but with a new twist to the tale.  According to sources, the superstar is likely to essay a double role of a father and son, with the story taking a 20-year leap on the lines of the Ravi Teja starrer, Kick 2.  Sources also reveal that the younger Salman in the film may have new traits to his character which make him a formidable threat to all his enemies, who try to challenge him.  Apparently both Sajid and Salman, who was in the know of the script since the past two years, kept improvising on it, after which it was recently finalized.

The much-talked about Kick sequel which has been confirmed for a Christmas 2019 release, will witness Salman Khan back as the ‘Devil’ but with a new twist to the tale

More interestingly, Sajid Nadiadwala is said to have once again roped in the original Kick writer Rajat Aroraa, who was instrumental in regaling the audiences with some of his memorable dialogues in the film. Apparently both Aroraa and Sajid Nadiadwala had been working exhaustively on the script of Kick 2 for the past two years, giving a new edge to the story that will now showcase Salman Khan in a role that will be high on both emotion and action.

In one of his earlier interviews post the phenomenal success of Kick, Sajid had said that one of the reasons for Kick being a huge success was the equation he shared with Salman and the way he understood him, “I felt that all the small things that people enjoyed in the film were because I knew Salman but definitely those numbers could not have been achieved without him,” he had said. In another media interaction he had confessed how it was a huge responsibility to work with Salman considering the hysteria among his fans and his huge fan base.

In a media interaction post the success of Kick, Sajid Nadiadwala  had confessed how it was a huge responsibility to work with Salman considering the mass hysteria he commanded among his fans

It is a known fact that Salman Khan and Sajid Nadiadwala have been thick friends for more than two decades since they first collaborated for the 1996 film Jeet, after which they gave several hits together like Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega and Mujhse Shaadi Karogi. It was Salman who inspired Sajid to make his directorial debut with the action comedy Kick, which went on to make history at the box-office and had the unique distinction of being Salman’s first film to enter the Rs 200 cr club. It is a little-known fact that it was Sajid Nadiadwala who gifted the title rights of Bharat-the upcoming epic film to be directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, to Salman Khan when he and his brother-in-law Atul Agnihotri felt that it would be the only apt title for the film.

BREAKING NEWS

Padmaavat has done India proud, says Hirachand Dand-President of Film Exporters Association

By Manishaa R

The President of the Indian Film Exporters Association, Hirachand Dand has hailed the phenomenal success of Padmaavat in North America, describing it as a celebration of “India’s second biggest masterpiece after Baahubali”. Dand who has been closely tracking the overwhelming overseas response to the film, added that there was a huge craze for the film not only in North America but even the region of East Africa where there is a market for select Indian films, “I was in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam last week and it is drawing housefull crowds there. I also learnt that the film is doing exceptionally well in Kenya and Tanzania. Moreover it has done exceptional business in the Gulf too with the first week collections at 10.8 million Dirhams. But the business in North America could be considered as over the top. The audiences in the overseas territories are completely bowled over by the film and its grandeur. Padmaavat has certainly done India proud,” he said.

The Ranveer Singh-Deepika Padukone-Shahid Kapoor starrer which set the record of being the highest single day grosser in North America at $1.85 million on January 27 and later the all-time biggest opening weekend at $4.9 million (first four days), continues to draw packed houses in the second week. According to latest reports, the North American distributors, Viva Entertainment Group are now adding 30 more screens in the second week including 9 IMAX 3D screens to cope up with the increased demand for the film.  According to the latest tally for the North American market, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus has collected $6,461,556  from 328 screens so far.

Going by its performance and the figures so far, Padmaavat is heading for a new record  for being the second highest grossing film overseas after Baahubali- Hirachand Dand, President, Indian Film Exporters Association

According to Dand, the audiences in North America have a fascination for larger than life costume dramas and historical films, besides romantic family films, “If I may rightly recall, Jodha Akbar also a very good run in North America. The audiences there throng to see such films,” he said.

According to latest reports, the North American distributors, Viva Entertainment Group are now adding 30 more screens in the second week including 9 IMAX 3D screens to cope up with the increased demand for the film

Dand is expecting the film to set new records in the overseas territory with the exceptional response it continues to draw, “Going by its performance and the figures so far, Padmaavat is heading for a new record  for being the second highest grossing film overseas after Baahubali. The film is also performing exceptionally well in Srilanka, Australia, New Zealand Singapore, Germany and several other pockets in the overseas territory,” he said.

 

BREAKING NEWS

#HrithikRoshan super-hero franchise Krrish 4 locked for Christmas 2020 release

Rakesh Roshan chooses occasion of Hrithik’s birthday, describes it as a birthday treat for the superstar’s fans

By Manishaa R

While Hrithik Roshan fans are going crazy on the social media, wishing him on his 44th birthday, filmmaker Rakesh Roshan decided to reward his fans with a special gift by announcing the release date of Krrish 4.  The fourth installment of the most celebrated superhero franchise starring Hrithik Roshan has been locked for Christmas 2020. Rakesh Roshan took to Twitter to make the announcement, “Today is perhaps the best day to make the release day of Krrish 4 official. Crhistmas 2020 it is. A gift for all of you on Hrithik’s birthday. Happy birthday Hrithik,” his tweet read.

Rakesh Roshan’s last film Kaabil starring Hrithik Roshan and Yami Gautam, had taken the box-office by storm last year on the eve of Republic Day, despite the formidable clash with Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees. The maker in an earlier interview had revealed that he had “a gem of an idea” for the fourth installment of Krrish and he wanted to leave no stone unturned for it. He had also said that he planned the graph of a film only after locking the script and how he wanted to unfold the story on screen.

“Today is perhaps the best day to make the release day of Krrish 4 official. Christmas 2020 it is. A gift for all of you on Hrithik’s birthday”- Rakesh Roshan

The father-son duo of Rakesh and Hrithik Roshan, have had an indomitable record at the box-office from Kaho Na Pyaar Hai to Kaabil. The last installment of Krrish was released on 4th November, 2013 in over 4000 screens worldwide. The film made history at the box-office with a domestic business of Rs 244 crores in India and a worldwide collection in the range of Rs 290 crores.  Hrithik presently has two other films Super 30 and YRF’s next but Christmas 2020 would definitely be one to watch out for.