Will December blockbusters score over economic and terror catastrophe?

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The ripples of the economic crisis have reached Bollywood. Distributors are hesitant to pick up movies because they are wary of theatrical attendance while on the other side producers have delayed their projects, holding back releases. Bollywood stars, being asked to cut down their signing amounts have also felt the heat of the ongoing economic turmoil, following a massive layoff among the junior artists.

As according to most analysts, the worst of the ciris is yet to come, when the bloody terror attacks on Mumbai scared away the audience from the multiplexes. According to trade analysts, almost 75-plus multiplexes of Mumbai saw less than 30 per cent occupancy in the last two weeks. Following the 26/11 terror attacks, small budget movies including Sorry Bhai, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, Meerabai Not Out, Dil Kabbadi have witnessed a miserable opening. Multiplexes being among the most susceptible terror targets, audiences are skeptical to step out for a movie.

Undeterred, the film industry still holds its spirits high and has kept its fingers crossed over the fate of upcoming movies like the Aamir Khan starrer Ghajini and Akshay Kumar’s Chandi Chowk to China which have completely different challenges to meet. Hopefully, they together will put a full stop to the dull season in Bollywood and offer a promising new year.

According to the famous filmmaker Pritish Nandy, economic crisis and terror attacks have hit the business of film industry hard but still he maintains that Shahrukh Khan’s Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi has done reasonably well and upcoming movies will bring the consumers back to the halls.

“Shah Rukh Khan’s Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi has brought some respite to the Hindi film industry. Next, we have Ghajini and Chandni Chowk to China which are being touted as big hits. If they do well, the entire mood will change,” said Nandy.

Ghajini is undoubtedly one of the most-awaited Bollywood films of the year. Aamir Khan reportedly postponed the release of the movie due to the terror attacks and it is slated to release on December 25. The distributors are very positive about the box office collection with the release date.

Pramod Arora, president and CEO, PVR Cinemas admits, “There was a major decrease in footfalls but not because of the economic recession, as entertainment industry is recession proof, but the Mumbai terror attack brought terror in people. But Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi was a sign of liberation as it lured back the movie buffs who kept away and brought a good collection.”

According to him, Aamir Khan is a strong brand with a huge fan base and people will come to watch him. “We do anticipate a great fourth quarter with expected big blockbusters like Ghajini and Chandni Chowk to China,” added Pramod.

Agrees Tushar Dhingra, COO, Big Cinemas, “Despite the economic slowdown, the terror attacks really affected the business not only because of the people being scared, but also because viewers were more concerned about the well being of the city and in a mood for mourning. But the release of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi was a breakthrough as this blockbuster proved to be a top collector and people came to watch and change their moods.”

Projecting about the business roadmap for forthcoming Bollywood flicks, Dhingra says, “We are lucky by chance to get such good movies by the year end. Ghajini and Chandni Chowk to China are expected to boom the December business by 50 per cent as compared to last year’s Taare Zameen Pe and Om Shanti Om.

Mumbai is not only the financial capital of India but it is also the heart of Bollywood. Mumbai terror attacks have sent shock waves to the Indian film industry. Still the trade majors are optimistic about everything and are hopeful of bringing back the footfall traffic.

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