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5reasons to live at the plexes this summer

THE DA VINCI CODE

Release: May 19.

Reason: Ok, you find Tom Hanks's hairstyle just not right for the charismatic Robert Langdon and Audrey Tatou too baby-faced for the stylish Sophie Neveu, but can you possibly afford to give Ron Howard's adaptation of the Dan Brown bestseller a miss' The Da Vinci Code not only marks the coming together of Howard and Hanks after Apollo 13, but also has scriptwriter Akiva Goldsman and Howard teaming up after A Beautiful Mind.

You have a fortnight to flip through the book and be coded.

Countdown quote: 'I was in Louvre in Paris a couple of weeks back and I found almost everybody had a copy of The Da Vinci Code in hand as they took a tour of the museum. The book is so ridiculously popular that the movie is a must watch everywhere. I can't wait for the familiar pages to unfold on celluloid' ' singer-musician Neel Dutt.

FANAA

Release: May 26.

Reason: Almost a couple of decades after they exploded on the Bollywood big screen, Aamir Khan and Kajol are finally allowed to romance, and that too on a Yash Chopra canvas, under the keen production eyes of Aditya Chopra, and with the mintfresh treatment of Kunal Hum Tum Kohli. Add to it Jatin-Lalit's final score and Ravi K. Chandran's lush lenswork and you are ready to be 'destroyed in love'. Also, there's always the hidden temptation to compare comeback Kajol's visually-challenged act with cousin Rani's blind show in Black.

Countdown quote: 'The first time pairing of Aamir and Kajol makes Fanaa very interesting. Aamir always is very good with his selection of films and there's the added attraction of Kajol's return. Since this is also Jatin-Lalit's last work, I am very keen to check out what they churn out as their swansong' ' actor-musician Bikram Ghosh.

KRRISH

Release: A Friday in June.

Reason: The bulging biceps, the lightyear leaps, the magnetic moves are back. And this time, there's a mask, which is a cross between Amitabh Bachchan's Ajooba and Halle Berry's Catwoman. As the international trailers would announce: This summer, from the maker of Kaho Naa' Pyaar Hai and Koi' Mil Gaya comes yet another musical blockbuster. The father-son duo of Rakesh and Hrithik Roshan would love to score a hattrick as they use up Rs 50 crore to scale the Singapore skyscrapers ' miraculous escape and all.

Countdown quote: 'My son (Shivendra, 11) is eagerly awaiting the release of Krrish since he completely went berserk after watching Koi' Mil Gaya. He made me buy him all the film's merchandise including Jadoo and, of course, the DVD when it released. He would watch it time and again and even cry copiously at some points in the movie. To be honest, I am looking forward to the movie, too. From whatever I have seen in the promos, Hrithik's new hairstyle is looking amazing' ' actress June.

SUPERMAN RETURNS

Release: June 30.

Reason: You didn't expect some hunk from Iowa seen in forgettable TV soaps like Undressed and One Life To Live to actually edge past heartthrobs like Ashton Kutcher and Brendan Fraser to don Christopher Reeve's celebrated blue body suit, red cape and undies. But then, in his new avatar, meant to be the first in a fresh trilogy, Brandon Routh as Clark Kent is not confined to the crumpled pages of DC Comics, and gets more real. The real attraction, though, could be Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor under the watchful eyes of his Usual Suspects director Bryan Singer.

Countdown quote: 'The combination of the red and blue colours of Superman has over the years represented sheer force and has also been used by big brands like Pepsi. The appearance is really bright and catchy and is every child's dream combo. Then you have the red briefs he wears outside the pants, which might be obscene for a normal man but with Superman wearing it, is absolutely fantastic... The character overshadows everything' ' designer Agnimitra Paul.

PLUS...

If the blockbusters don't lure you, perhaps the freebies will. If you are watching a film at Fame (Hiland Park) in the next couple of months, a simple quiz contest can win you a couple of holiday packages in South Africa and five within Indian boundaries.

At the other end of the EM Bypass, 89 Cinemas is going for lowered ticket rates to woo more footfalls. 'We are also drastically bringing down our membership card rates that is sure to boost the summer occupancies,' says vice-president Prashant Shrivastava.

It makes sense to hard-sell at the plexes this summer, if the seasonal figures of the city's most popular plex are anything to go by. Over the last two years, INOX (Forum) has registered the highest footfalls in the summer months. If May and June pulled in 60 and 70 per cent occupancy in 2004, the same months drew 61 and 73 per cent in 2005 and this year, with the figures already rising in April, the Elgin Road multiplex is eyeing an occupancy high of 75.

The heat really is on, on the screen.

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