With I Hate Luv Storys, Sonam Kapoor has got her first success, as her two earlier films – Saawariya and Delhi-6 – were damp squibs at the box-office. The same film has also brought Imran Khan’s career back on track after two debacles, Kidnap and Luck. Of course, Imran debuted in the hit Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na but both his starrers thereafter bombed at the ticket windows.

One wonders whether it was because of this background of the two lead players of I Hate Luv Storys or simply because the trade didn’t like the film as it had some novel elements in it, but the talk about the box-office prospects of the film when it was released last Friday wasn’t too encouraging, at least in industry circles. This always happens – whenever there’s something new in a film story, our trade is the first to trash the film. In I Hate Luv Storys, debut-making writer-director Punit Malhotra did not show Sonam Kapoor heartbroken or crying buckets of tears after Imran Khan spurned her love. Rather, she went about her work with the same dedication, much like many of our young generation adults would do in similar situations. Again, although Sonam turns down Imran’s marriage proposal when he does propose to her in the film, she doesn’t do it to spite him or seek revenge but rather because she reasons out that it is the best option available to her. It is these novel twists and turns which the audience seemed to have liked and the trade seemed to have trashed. And since box-office collections depend upon what the public thinks about a film rather than what the film trade people feel about it, I Hate Luv Storys has turned out to be a successful fare.

Another fact which most of the trade people failed to appreciate was that UTV hadn’t invested too heavily in the film (Rs. 28 crore) as Karan Johar had sold it at a reasonable price (around Rs. 21 crore) to the corporate – obviously, because he himself had made it in a controlled budget. For such reasonably-priced films, a good first weekend is enough to make the film a plus fare, especially when its satellite rights have already been sold for a handsome price – as, reportedly, in the case of I Hate Luv Storys (for approximately Rs. 10 crore). Gone are the days when films had to continue collecting well at the ticket windows for at least three or four weeks to cross the average mark. With ticket prices in multiplexes being as high as they are, a good first weekend is enough to turn a reasonably-priced film like I Hate Luv Storys into a profitable proposition. And who better than the trade people to know this? Then, why do they trash films and measure medium-budgeted films with the same yardstick as high-budgeted ones. It is the latter kind, not the former, which need to sustain box-office collections for some weeks to be termed plus.

By Komal Nahta

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