Monday, 30th October 2017

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Bidya's BO magic - Kiss of life for Single screens

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  • Published 22.03.12

Prosenjit Chatterjee @prosenjitbumba

A huge line in front (of) Menoka on Monday...what a great success of Kaha(a)ni...@sujoy_g

Tollywood topper Prosenjit’s Monday-evening tweet summed up the box-office draw of Vidya (Bidya) Bagchi.

Calcutta’s single-screen theatres — battling the multiplex boom and dwindling footfalls, wage problems and high electricity costs — seem to have been taken out of the ICU for a bit (yes, that’s a nod to ex-railway minister Dinesh Trivedi) by Kahaani.

The Sujoy Ghosh-directed thriller starring Vidya Balan, that has been shot in the Mocambos and Kumartulis and features a host of popular Tolly faces, has set the cash registers ringing at standalone cinemas across town.

“Business has been phenomenal and footfalls have increased on a day-to-day basis. Kahaani is a boon for single-screen theatres,” said Manik Bhowmick of Jaya cinema in Lake Town, where footfalls have been in the range of 80 to 90 per cent ever since the made-in-Calcutta film released on March 9.

The Kahaani count — the story of a pregnant woman who comes to Calcutta from London in search of her missing husband — at standalone cinemas has nearly doubled from Week I to II.

“There has been a 40 per cent jump in collections over that for the same period in the first week,” said Bhowmick.

At Menoka, bordering the Dhakuria Lakes, the rise in footfall from the first week to the second has been about 25 per cent.

“Most blockbusters start off with a huge initial, do good business for the first week and then show a drop. Kahaani is that rare film that has been showing a day-wise increase in occupancies,” said Pranab Roy of Menoka.

According to Roy, the last film with a similar box-office story was Shah Rukh Khan’s Chak De! India way back in 2007.

“If we get two or three films like this in the next six months, it could spark a resurgence in standalone cinemas,” said Prabir Roy of Ashoka. The Behala movie hub has been notching up one houseful show after another, even on weekdays. “Till Tuesday evening, the second week collections were already approximately Rs 70,000 more than what they were last Monday,” said Roy.

A cross-sectional appeal and repeat viewing have led to the “unprecedented” footfall, feel officials of the single-screen theatres. “Despite it being a thriller, people are coming in to watch Kahaani a second or a third time,” said Naveen Chokhani of Navina cinema on Prince Anwar Shah Road.

The Kahaani phenomenon is travelling to single-screen theatres beyond city limits. “Halls like Bombay in Kharagpur and Chitra in Asansol are doing their best business ever,” said Pritam Jalan of Kushagra Arts, the regional distributors of Kahaani.

Saif Ali Khan’s Agent Vinod is set to storm theatres this Friday, but Jalan is confident about Kahaani setting a box-office record after notching up Rs 4.50 crore in Bengal in the first 10 days of its release.

“The final collections for Bodyguard and Ra.One in Bengal were Rs. 6.70 crore and Rs. 6.52 crore. We expect Kahaani to better that,” he said.

And you thought Made in Calcutta doesn’t sell anymore?