Regular-article-logo Monday, 05 June 2023

A comedy's tragedy

Read more below

KOMAL NAHTA Published 29.04.06, 12:00 AM

Indra Kumar and Ashok Thakeria had just about come out of the woods with Masti (2004). They are now back in the red with their latest movie Pyare Mohan. The comic love story, rather, two love stories ? one of a blind boy (Fardeen Khan) and the other of a deaf man (Viveik Oberoi) ? failed to tickle the funny bone of audiences. The film’s trailers didn’t suggest that it would be a romantic movie. Rather, they gave the impression that it was a comedy. In any case, if there are two physically challenged heroes, the film can either be an emotional drama (like Rajshri Productions’ old black and white film Dosti) or a laugh riot. The promos of Pyare Mohan didn’t promise a sentimental film and so by the process of elimination, one was sure it would be a light entertainer.

Unfortunately, the film didn’t get a good start at many centres. Even at places where it did open to good houses, collections came crashing like a pack of cards from Monday onwards. In fact, if the opening weekend was satisfactory in terms of collections, it was, perhaps, owing to a lack of competition: Pyare Mohan was the sole release on April 21.

The multiplex culture has seen crowds frequenting cinema theatres on weekends. Therefore, any star-studded film can expect to do decent business on Saturdays and Sundays. Pyare Mohan stood to gain because of this, despite the dull reports from day one. This is not to say that the comedy has backfired completely. But it wouldn’t be wrong to say that only children are enjoying the film and relishing the jokes. Even that would’ve been fine ? but the film was intended for an audience aged 15-50.

The film’s producers did make money on Masti. At least, no distributor lost money on it. But selling Pyare Mohan on the distribution circuit became difficult. That’s because the market for Viveik Oberoi has gone from bad to worse in recent times. Thanks to his line-up of flops, including Kyun! Ho Gaya Naa Pyaar, Kisna and Home Delivery, distributors are wary of touching any Viveik Oberoi starrer. Their fears came true when not many buyers evinced interest in Pyare Mohan despite the success of the producers’ earlier film.

By industry convention, distributors are always eager to back the projects of successful film producers. However, in the case of Pyare Mohan ? the movie, please note, draws inspiration from the Hollywood movie See No Evil Hear No Evil ? this was not the case. True, the distribution trade is extremely sensitive to star popularity. In the absence of previews of films being held for potential customers and when scripts are guarded like a state secret, it is mainly the banner, the director, the stars and the music which distributors have to rely upon in deciding whether or not they want to invest in a film.

In the case of Pyare Mohan, the producers had no option but to release the film in at least two major territories (Mumbai and Delhi-U.P.) by themselves. It is now certain that they will lose money from the Rs 9 crore film. As for distributors who bought the film, they are crying in spite of being associated with a comedy. That’s the tragedy!

Maneka Gandhi must be feeling victimised after victimising the industry for so long. The makers of Rang De Basanti, Kaal and Paheli are only some of those who bore the brunt of the Animal Welfare Board of India’s (AWBI) wrath. But the government has suddenly discovered that AWBI does not have the power or the authority to raise objections to the use of animals in films. Maneka Gandhi loses no opportunity in slamming filmwallahs for being cruel to animals. Maybe she will now scream at the government for being cruel to the AWBI.

Komal Nahta is editor, Film Information

Follow us on: