On the Poila Baisakh 1420 menu: a family day in, a Bengali meal out and... a tryst with Tollywood.
Calcuttans welcomed the Bengali new year by trooping in for a Bengali film, with Goynar Baksho as the top draw. “Goynar Baksho has opened very big. After a long time, we are seeing a Bengali film filled to capacity during the noon and night shows,” said Arijit Dutta of Priya.
The Aparna Sen film based on the Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay novel has drawn the crowds from INOX to Priya, Broadway to Mitra, Fame to Navina.
“We’ve spent around Rs 3 crore on Goynar Baksho and made Rs 60 lakh in the first three days alone,” said Shrikant Mohta of Shree Venkatesh Films.
If Goynar Baksho — with Moushumi Chatterjee as the scene-stealer — is the Chris Gayle of the Tolly films in town, then doing a steady Gautam Gambhir is Shabdo. “I have got some great feedback and there is repeat viewing too. I am very happy that all sections of the audience are watching Shabdo,” said Kaushik Ganguly, director of the human drama about a foley artiste’s obsession with ambient sounds.
At INOX and Fame, Shabdo started off slow, but picked up steadily through the weekend, registering occupancy in the range of 70-80 per cent. Even at single screens like Ashoka in Behala the occupancy is about 80 per cent, “very good for a niche film”.
And still in the race is director-actor Parambrata Chattopadhyay’s Hawa Bodol that is calling in the youngsters even in week 4. The buddy film starring the Kahaani man with Rudranil Ghosh and Raima Sen has done brisk business, emerging as one of the biggest Tolly earners of the year.
“The audience has loved the humour in Hawa Bodol. I have visited different theatres and people have laughed a lot. The more sensitive section of the crowd has also liked the seriousness of the subject. Our three-week sale has been unimaginable!” said Parambrata.
Contrast this with the Bollywood films of the festive week: while Ayushmann Khurrana’s Nautanki Saala! fell flat after the initial few shows, Vidyut Jammwal’s action-packed Commando has managed to lure some action lovers. So for once, big Bolly is a distant second to Tolly.
All thanks to film buffs like Madhurima Mukherjee who caught a show of Goynar Baksho on Saturday and set up a Poila Baisakh date with Shabdo. “After a long time, there is so much to pick from the Tolly fare at the cinemas. I liked Goynar Baksho and found Shabdo extremely thought-provoking. Nautanki Saala! can wait,” said the software professional.
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