Halla Bol bombs at box office
Rajkumar Santoshi’s political commentary “Halla Bol” has received a mixed response in its opening week. While the audiences in the western circuit have rejected the movie, it is doing reasonably well in some pockets in north India.
Box office collections in Mumbai started dropping from the second show of its opening day last Friday (Jan 11). The movie notched a lacklustre Mumbai territory opening with 70 percent collections, considered unusual for an Ajay Devgan starrer.
Bollywood trade circles were taken by surprise when the collections in cinemas in Mumbai dropped to as low as 42 percent after the opening day.
The box office graph tilted downwards in all major suburban circuits.
The verdict is now clear. Though appreciated critically, “Halla Bol” is the first debacle of 2008.
But the movie has been doing reasonably well in some pockets in north India. A leading Mumbai distributor attributes this moderate success to the political culture of the north.
“It was expected. The political undertone explicit in the movie is akin to the political culture of the North. Cine-goers in the north generally like movies that have a fair amount of action. ‘Haala Bol’ has it in ample measure. The action scenes in the movie, as in all Raj Kumar Santoshi movies, are nicely executed to boost the narration. Maybe, audience in other centres squirmed at the movie’s political content,” a leading Mumbai distributor, not wishing to be named, told IANS Monday.
A group of young girls who watched the movie at the Fame-Andheri in Mumbai summed up the mood of the audience when they told IANS that in “Halla Bol”, director Rajkumar Santoshi assumed the role of a teacher, telling them what they should do and what they should not.
“Come on, we do not like to be talked to in such a silly manner,” said Sangita Sajlani, the most vociferous among them.
The debacle of “Halla Bol” is also a major setback to Pyramid Symira. It was the theatre chain’s first foray into the Hindi belt. It is too shell-shocked to comment on the film’s poor show all over.
Though reports from overseas market are yet to be made public, trade circles believe that the movie may not fare well there either.
The verdict that the movie has received in the domestic market has set the overseas distributors wondering whether the NRI audience will be able to identify themselves with the Indian social milieu into which the issue has been woven.
“I am keeping my fingers crossed,” Nittin Keni, one of the overseas distributors, told IANS Monday.