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Crackle of crores with fall-short feel

- Yash Chopra’s swansong is a biggie but SRK still way behind Salman

The Shah Rukh Khan-Katrina Kaif chemistry doesn’t quite crackle, Anushka Sharma takes up too much screen time in her hot pants, the plot points are preposterous, none of A.R. Rahman’s songs linger and the film is (at least) 30 minutes too long. And yet, Jab Tak Hai Jaan is a “blockbuster”.

Till Monday — seven days from last Tuesday’s Diwali release — Yash Chopra’s swansong had done around Rs 86 crore nett in India. Enough for Yash Raj Films to label it a “blockbuster” and SRK to tweet: “Very touching how all of u r buying tickets for JTHJ.... It makes me feel very wanted & positively proud. Thanx all.” But with Jab Tak billed to fall way short of Aamir’s 3 Idiots and Salman’s Ek Tha Tiger, Shah Rukh remains the less-wanted Khan.

Not in Calcutta though. “It’s done really well here,” says Bengal distributor Kushagra Jalan. “He has had a stable audience base here even before KKR won the IPL and he became Bengal’s brand ambassador. You can compare Jab Tak’s figures with Son of Sardaar (Rs 71.5 crore), at other centres but here it’s a no-match.”

SoS has started decently elsewhere, but it has been a disaster in Bengal and JTHJ has enjoyed that advantage,” says a multiplex official in Calcutta. “But while Ra.One last Diwali was a solo release and enjoyed 15-plus shows at each property in its first week, JTHJ hasn’t had that luxury. Plus, it’s three hours long. Still the word-of-mouth has been much better than Ra.One.”

Abroad, SRK fans have enabled JTHJ to debut at No. 4 in the UK Top 10 and at No. 5 in the US Top 10. With very good numbers in Australia, Germany, Pakistan and the Middle East, the Yash Chopra love saga has registered the highest “six-day weekend” gross for any Bollywood film overseas.

In fact, the cumulative collections — domestic and international — had the movie crossing the much-sought-after Rs 100-crore mark on Saturday itself. But Jab Tak Hai Jaan is unlikely to have the kind of jaan it needs to collect another Rs 100 crore and seriously threaten the other two Khans’ box-office records. With a sense of fatigue creeping into the second half when the obvious denouement is stretched over reels and no chartbuster to pep things up, repeat viewing will be rare.

Also, with Aamir Khan’s Talaash releasing on November 30, JTHJ looks set to be elbowed out of most theatres before the winter chill sets in. And then Salman Khan will return for yet another roar as Chulbul Pandey with Dabangg 2 in Christmas.

Back to romance, back with Yash Chopra, first time with box-office goddess Katrina Kaif, first on-screen kiss, six-day weekend Diwali release... this was really King Khan’s biggest pitch. It still may not be enough.

Will JTHJ collections get close to the Rs 200-crore mark? Tell