Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan
Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan

The last 12 days have had people talk about just one thing – whether Shah Rukh Khan’s My Name Is Khan is a hit or a flop and whether its box-office collections have been bigger than those of Aamir Khan’s 3 Idiots. No doubt, the producers and 20th Century Fox, the worldwide distributors of the film, have been claiming the film to be a huge hit but the facts are contrary.

Although comparisons are not fair and are, in fact, odious, it is necessary to talk of the two films in the same breath simply because Fox has been doling out figures to the media, claiming that its film has surpassed all previous records.

By implication, it means MNIK has collected more than 3 Idiots. Surprisingly, most of the media people have been buying the Fox story without so much as verifying the same. Actually, not so surprisingly! The way the television news channels had gone on and on about the historic opening of MNIK on the day it released (12th February), one was actually prepared for the continuation of the media circus.

After all, the news channels had been misreporting from day one about how MNIK was running to packed houses in Bombay in spite of the Shiv Sena boycott threat when actually it was running to poor houses in several cinemas. And the weak houses of MNIK were in no way a reflection of the film’s merits. Rather, it was the fear factor at play as people did not want to risk their lives after the Sena threatened to force closure of cinemas by means fair or foul.

After the first weekend got over, Fox lost no time in issuing press releases to the effect that MNIK had shattered all previous box-office records of Hindi films and had emerged as the film with the highest first weekend gross. Just one line should prove how far removed from reality this claim of Fox was: In India, the net collections of 3 Idiots in the first weekend were around Rs. 40 crore whereas the comparative figure for MNIK was Rs. 27 crore.

Even if one were to assume (wrongly) that Khan made it up in the Overseas circuit, it was no secret on Monday morning that its collections in India had begun to drop – and drop rather markedly. Resultantly, as against a first week net of Rs. 80 crore of 3 Idiots, the first week of MNIK ended at Rs. 44 crore net – just 55% of 3 Idiots.

No doubt, the Overseas territories have been throwing up fabulous figures in the case of MNIK but then, even 3 Idiots had amassed a rich haul abroad. In UK, of course, the grosses of MNIK exceeded those of 3 Idiots in the first week but the story is not the same in the US or the Middle East. Agreed, MNIK has been released and will, in future too, be released in territories abroad where no Hindi film has ever been released, but those virgin markets are not expected to yield revenues in crores of rupees.

It is to present the correct picture that we give hereinbelow the approximate first-week distributors’ shares of MNIK and 3 Idiots in India, circuit-wise:

3 Idiots MNIK
Circuit (Rs. In Crore) (Rs. In Crore)
Bombay 18.50 8.00
Delhi-UP 8.60 6.15
East Punjab 3.60 2.50
West Bengal 2.50 2.00
Bihar 0.60 0.40
Assam 0.30 0.20
Orissa 0.20 0.15
C.P. Berar 2.30 1.05
C.I. 1.70 0.80
Rajasthan 2.50 1.30
Nizam 1.95 1.40
Mysore 1.79 1.60
Andhra 0.30 0.25
Tamil Nadu – Kerala 0.70 0.40
Total 45.50 26.20

As mentioned above, the collections in the Overseas territory of MNIK are absolutely fantastic. The first week’s share of MNIK from abroad is around Rs. 16 crore, approximately Rs. 1.5 to 2 crore more than that of 3 Idiots.

But the response on home ground is definitely not upto the mark, as is evident from the sharp decline in collections from Monday onwards. This also gives the indication that whereas 3 Idiots continued to yield handsome shares for 7-8 weeks, MNIK may not be able to do it for more than a couple of weeks.

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