‘Paisa Bolta Hai’: Decoding The Debacle Of Ranbir’s ‘Shamshera’

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By: Navneet Mundhra
Updated: 24 July, 2022 8:14 pm IST

The pall of gloom descended at the box-office on this Friday as Ranbir Kapoor’s lavishly mounted ‘Shamshera’ hit the screens. Directed by Karan Malhotra and produced by Yash Raj Films, the period-drama is made at a colossal scale and is an exceedingly expensive movie. However, its appalling opening sent shock waves through the trade.

The movie was touted as a “mass entertainer” but only a smattering of people turned up to watch it. The initial was so poor that at many places shows on Day 1 had to be cancelled due to zero audience. Released on around 4400 screens across India, the highest for a movie post pandemic, it collected a meagre Rs 10 crore nett on the opening day. It has found no favours in any circuits as numbers in all parts of India are abysmal. The collections are little better in Delhi/NCR region but it’s relative, and overall they’re subpar.

The film failed to pick up on Saturday after underwhelming initial sales and the collections remained flat. ‘Shamshera’ has garnered just Rs 20 crore nett in two days and the scenario is bleak. The numbers will increase a bit on Sunday but the film needs a growth of at least 60%, after such a dreadful start, which seems unlikely. The first weekend of the movie will hover around Rs 33 crore nett, which is underwhelming.

The advance booking of the film, on the whole, was unspectacular but was decent at some multiplexes. Since it’s an action movie, the trade was expecting brisk on-the-spot ticket sales but that didn’t happen.

Talking exclusively with The New Indian, the Chief Programming Officer at INOX – Mr Rajendra Singh Jyala – said the advance booking of ‘Shamshera’ was better than films like ‘Samrat Prithviraj’ and ‘Jug Jugg Jeeyo’.

“INOX always leads the way in the exhibition sector as far as advance booking is concerned. ‘Shamshera’ is no exception. The advance for this film is better compared to ‘Samrat Prithviraj’ and ‘Jug Jugg Jeeyo’. However, the best advance-booking for a Bollywood film this year has been for ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’. ‘Shamshera’ has not leapfrogged the numbers of that film. The advance for Sunday, especially in big centres, is pretty good,” he said.After the debacle of ‘Shamshera’, the trade has pinned their hopes on Aamir Khan’s ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ and Akshay Kumar’s ‘Raksha Bandhan’ – both of which will be releasing on August 11 – to resurrect the Hindi film industry which perhaps facing its worst-ever crisis. When asked about the buzz for these films and how they will divide the screens as both will be releasing on the same date, Jyala reckoned that it is too early to comment.

“See, there are still 3 weeks to go for the release of ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ and ‘Raksha Bandhan’. We are getting a lot of enquiries for both the movies but we will only take a decision on the allotment of screens after a few days. Their promotions will begin now which will beef up the buzz around them,” he opined.

Girish Johar, the veteran trade expert and producer, says he has huge expectations from both the films. “I trust the cinematic ingenuity and wisdom of Aamir Khan. He rarely goes wrong. A few people are harping on the fact that ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ is the remake of ‘Forrest Gump’ but how many youngsters have actually seen it? If Aamir was not confident about the product, he would have dumped it on the OTT platforms but he is pulling out all the stops to promote it. That shows he has faith in the film. I think it will take a splendid initial,” he firmly stated.

“As for Raksha Bandhan, it is a medium-budget film and looks like a safe bet especially because Akshay excels in such roles. The movie is rooted in Indian traditions and revolves around an emotional subject. This will help it to connect with the Indian people all over India. I am optimistic about the fate of both the films despite the gloom pervading our industry at present,” Johar concluded.

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