Thin attendance at Plaza Cinema in Ranchi on Friday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
The ripples of controversy created by Padma Shri Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam failed to get Ranchi to the theatres, with the Hindi version (Vishwaroop) of the spy thriller drawing a lukewarm response on the day of its release.
Most multiplex owners in Ranchi claimed “below-average” bookings on Day One, though some expected sales to pick up over the weekend.
“Any controversy surrounding a film is good for its promotion. The audience usually pour in to watch the controversial bits. I am confident that the weekend collection will be better as a lot of enquiries have poured in,” Ajit Kumar Choudhary, manager of Eylex, had his fingers crossed.
The plex is screening five shows (10.15am, 1.05pm, 3.55pm, 6.45pm and 9.35pm) daily and Choudhary claimed the first two witnessed 65-70 per cent occupancy.
Fun Cinemas, however, has decided to brave only three shows at 10am, 3.30pm and 9pm, with officials reporting 30-35 per cent (of the 200 seats) occupancy on Day One. “We are hoping to do better business in the next couple of days,” a staff manning the telebooking counter of Fun Cinemas said.
Popkorn also has decided to screen two shows of Vishwaroop daily, which is competing with flicks like Race 2 and another February 1 release, David, for viewership.
The audience reaction towards the film too was not very warm on its opening day with most dubbing the release as a one-time watch.
“The film looks like a mix of Hollywood spy thrillers and Sunny Deol-type patriotic flicks. It has nothing new to offer. The hero is old and even the makeup could not hide Kamal Haasan’s tell-tale signs of ageing. That is where the film thoroughly fails,” college student Sudhir Kumar did not mince words.
Some like Kunal Bose were a tad generous. “I came to watch the movie because of the controversy that surrounded it. The film, I feel, is a one-time watch,” Kunal, a college student, said.
Ranchi police have beefed up security at all theatres.