It was predicted in this column that opening shows of each of the three new releases of the week would be on similar lines and occupancy would be in 30%-40%. Well, one part of the prediction did come true as the three films had almost similar collections to begin with. That part of the prediction which didn’t come true was around the occupancy level. To one’s horror, the ‘combined occupancy’ till afternoon was around 30%-40% – shocking by all means. After all, each of the three films had seen decent buzz around it and though clash was always expected to divide audience, it was the lack of footfalls that disappointed.
However there was respite by the time evening shows commenced and the weekend followed. It was clear – the best film scored and was given a thumbs-up by the audience. Jolly LLB was heads and shoulder above the competition and as expected, it was very good up North. The film indeed went on to take the biggest ever opening for an Arshad Warsi solo and ended up fetching around 12.51 crores over the weekend.
Now this is on the same lines as last week’s Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns which had a similar budget, starcast, buzz, opening and the footfalls. However what differentiates Jolly LLB from the Tigmanshu Dhulia directed affair is the fact that it eyes family audience and has been much more liked. While critical acclaim has been unanimous, audience response has been widely positive with not a single soul terming the film as a disappointment. This means that director Subhash Kapoor can well brace up for a good run that Jolly LLB is all set to enjoy. While lifetime total of 30 crore is on the cards, more could come in as well.
The film that did end up being disappointing was 3G. A good looking film, it turned out to be a mishap no less as the confusing narrative and unimaginable storyline did it in. With less than 4 crores coming in over the weekend, it is now a major flop at the box office. For Neil Nitin Mukesh, it is a bad run indeed because he has been getting appreciation (again after David) but his films are not carrying enough power to survive. Hopefully he would bounce back with Shortcut Romeo.
The film should hang on well though is Mere Dad Ki Maruti. Its opening collections were a little over 4 crores but what differentiates it from 3G is the fact that it is a much more appreciated product. As hinted last week, one did feel that a better promotion, marketing and release could have allowed it to cover a much greater distance. Since the end product is good, it deserves a chance to stay on for a while. This means that while it would enjoy a better outing than Saqib’s last Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge, it isn’t a Band Baaja Baaraat in the making which went on to score 20 crores with the same opening day.
Joginder Tuteja tweets @tutejajoginder