Abar Bomkesh on Saturday evening.
Bhooter Bhobishyot on Sunday evening.
Kahaani for a second time on Tuesday night.
Agent Vinod? Naaah.
Made in Calcutta is the big-screen buzzword this season. Even as big Bollywood (Rs 62 crore) in the form of Agent Vinod misfires at the box office, a Tolly-powered small (Rs 8 crore) Bolly film (Kahaani), a traditional Bengali favourite (Abar Bomkesh), and a quirky Tolly tale (Bhooter Bhobishyot) have hit box-office bullseye.
In Week 4, the queues keep growing for a peek at a pregnant woman’s quest for her missing husband in Kahaani. A band of ghosts continues kicking up a storm in Week 3 of Bhooter Bhobishyot. And a home-grown sleuth nailing a nail-biter in the hills of north Bengal in Abar Bomkesh is calling in the crowds in Week 2.
Let’s start with the Queen B: Bidya Bagchi! Vidya Balan’s Kahaani — shot entirely in Calcutta, with a host of faces from Bengali films and TV — is fast attaining cult status.
“This is a rare film that just doesn’t seem to slow down. Kahaani will be the first choice for movie goers for at least another week, if not longer,” predicted Pritam Jalan of Kushagra Arts, the regional distributors of Kahaani.
According to Jalan, the Vidya Balan film (at Rs 5.50 crore nett, and counting) has already crossed the Bengal collections for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (Rs 4.78 crore), Ready (Rs. 4.81 crore) and The Dirty Picture (Rs 3.52 crore).
No wonder Kahaani director Sujoy Ghosh — who lived in Bhowanipore till he was 13 and studied at St. James — is one beaming Bong. “The domestic gross earnings have just crossed Rs 50 crore and that is huge for a film like this. Not only am I elated that my film has been accepted so widely, I am also happy that Kahaani’s success will now prompt a lot more financiers to back projects like ours,” Ghosh told Metro from Mumbai.
If Kahaani is the proverbial David, the Goliath crown goes to Agent Vinod. “Contrary to expectations, the footfalls for the Saif Ali Khan-Kareena Kapoor starrer have dwindled significantly within the first week itself,” said Subhasis Ganguli, the regional director of INOX.
Sriram Raghavan’s Agent Vinod is, in fact, proving to be the fourth choice behind Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani, Anjan Dutt’s Abar Bomkesh and Anik Dutta’s Bhooter Bhobishyot at the plexes.
Abar Bomkesh, based on Chitrachor and starring Abir Chatterjee as Bomkesh, Ushasie as Satyabati and Saswata Chatterjee as Ajit, has got off to a good start.
“The box-office collections for the first five days alone have been around Rs 56 lakh. I am happy that people have accepted brand Bomkesh. We will be able to break even in Week 3,” said Rana Sarkar, producer of the film that has been made on a budget of Rs 1.45 crore.
And then there is the surprise package of Bhooter Bhobishyot. Powered by word-of-mouth publicity and fun feedback, it’s drawing the young and not-so-young alike. “I agree with Barun Chanda’s review in t2 where he said this is like no other ghost film one has seen before. The gallery of ghosts, the racy dialogues, and the great performances make it a rollicking ride,” said Nisha Sengupta, 22.
“It’s a very wacky film and people are loving the fresh subject and the fun dialogues. Even non-Bengalis are watching Bhooter Bhobishyot,” said director Anik Dutta.
That’s a fact confirmed by the plexes. “Abar Bomkesh and Bhooter Bhobishyot have both reinforced the trend that Tolly films are now being watched even by non-Bengalis. Both films are doing well in cinemas across the city,” said a plex official, adding that this comes on the heels of Rituparna Sengupta’s Charulataa 2011 enjoying a good run.
“Almost every Tolly release nowadays does decent to good business and often Tollywood is the first choice for cinegoers,” revealed a spokesperson for Fame Cinemas, which is notching up house-full shows for both Bhooter Bhobishyot and Abar Bomkesh.
So Saifu, the next time you want to make it large at the box-office why don’t you just make a small film in Calcutta?