Last Friday, October 12, was probably the worst, box office wise, in a long time for the Hindi film industry. Four films –Jalebi, Helicopter Eela, Tumbaad and FryDay—released on the same day and none of them actually took off at the ticket window. In fact, their first weekend collection together is worse than the first Monday business of bigger films.
As per film trade website Box Office India, Jalebi that features Rhea Chakraborty and Varun Mitra in the lead roles, collected approximately Rs 1.65 crore in first three days. Break up wise, it earned Rs 40 lakh, Rs 60 lakh and Rs 65 lakh on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
They should take solace in the fact that their business increased by 50 per cent in first two days.
If you’re thinking of giving Jalebi the benefit of doubt of being a small film, divert your attention to Helicopter Eela that had Kajol in the lead. Helicopter Eela ran out of fuel on the very first day and earned Rs 75 lakh on Friday. Sometimes, bigger films register this much business in a few cinema halls over a weekend. It went on to gather Rs 1.10 crore and Rs 1.30 crore in subsequent days, taking its totally tally to Rs 3.15 crore in the opening days.
Tumbaad, a visually stunning film that received mostly positive reviews from the critics, also failed. It was promoted well and had names like Aanand L Rai and Anand Gandhi associated with it, still it collected around Rs 2.75 crore (Rs 50 lakh, Rs 1 crore and Rs 1.25 crore on Friday, Saturday and Sunday) in first three days.
Govinda-starrer FryDay had the worst run as it collected only Rs 1.10 crore at the end of the first weekend. Its first day collection was only Rs 25 lakh which is very tough to beat for any film with as recognisable a face as Govinda.
The total collection of all the four films together over the weekend is Rs 8.65 crore.
Veere Di Wedding, which is at the 10th spot among the highest grossing films in 2018, had the first day collection of Rs 10.42 crore, which these four films together couldn’t beat in three days. Such figures also show how dependent the Indian box office is on stars.
Film trade analyst Atul Mohan tries to put everything into perspective. He says, “It’s a trend during the festive season. It’s a different thing if the film is really special, otherwise filmmakers have traditionally avoided releasing their films during this period. In Gujarat, you’ll see ‘dandiya’ nights, in the north there is Navaratri, fasting etc. In Kolkata and other eastern parts, people are busy with Durga Puja, so films are not really the prime source of entertainment.”
He adds, “Quality is also a concern. Tumbaad got good reviews but it’s increasingly getting difficult for non-star films. They also wait for these films’ satellite and streaming timing. Getting enough shows also impacts the business.”
With two big films, Namaste England and Badhaai Ho, releasing next Friday, Bollywood producers would be hoping for a better business.