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Filmi MLA sweeps stakes, CPM style

His was the only 'political' face on the walls during poll time, pleading for votes with a smug smile on his face.

MLA Fatakeshto seemed sure of victory, and he turned out to be right ' sweeping the box-office, CPM style.

Into its fifth week this Friday, MLA Fatakeshto, the film about a goonda-turned-neta storming the red bastion of power, has broken all recent cine records at home, almost as a precursor to Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's thumping return to Writers' Buildings.

Released with an unprecedented 61 prints across Bengal four days before the state went to polls, MLA Fatakeshto has outgunned Juddha, the highest grosser of 2005.

The hype generated by the film had a lot to do with its timing and to the Election Commission (EC) directive that wiped all 'other' pre-poll graffiti off the state walls.

Mithun the MLA ' the solitary political presence defying the EC whitewash ' has smashed the record-breaking collections of Mithun the righteous cop in Juddha last year.

At the end of four weeks, the box-office collections of MLA Fatakeshto had touched Rs 2.5 crore, against Juddha's 1.75 crore.

If the Jeet-Mithun combo had helped action thriller Juddha rake in a high initial, MLA Fatakeshto is riding high on the Mithun factor combined with the five-phase Assembly elections.

'The timing of the release on April 14 was very appropriate. The fact that it coincided with the polls and the way we designed the posters created a lot of hype around the film' There is no love story but people are liking it. A different profile of audience is coming to see this film, and there are a good number of non-Bengalis, too,' says Shrikant Mohta of Shree Venkatesh Films, that produced both Juddha and MLA Fatakeshto.

Anticipating the poll fever, the producers had upped the number of prints by 20 (Juddha had released with 41) and the producers feel MLA has some way to run yet.

'The film will cross a minimum of 50 days,' feels Mahendra Soni of Shree Venkatesh.

Inspired by the Anil Kapoor-Rani Mukherjee-starrer Nayak, MLA Fatakeshto is directed by the king of Bengali potboilers Swapan Saha. The film tracks seven days in the life of a goon who plays the political game to become home minister and then turns everything topsy-turvy.

Debasree Roy stars as his wife, while Soumitra Chatterjee plays the chief minister and Koel Mullick a television journalist.

The final word comes from Mithunda: 'The film has a political colour but a hit always depends on how good the film is. My character is a goonda who gets votes for politicians but takes up a challenge and becomes a minister. It's a commercial film with a lot of song and dance, which is my USP.'

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