If Vidya Balan-starrer "Kahaani" has catapulted director Sujoy Ghosh into the big league, it has also benefited much-neglected single-screen theatres in the city that have done roaring business for three weeks now.
"I personally feel that 'Kahaani' will do business worth Rs.3.15 crore to Rs.3.45 crore (over $670,000) in Kolkata. Bollywood films are hardly screened in rural areas, but the movie is really doing well in Kolkata and its outskirts," said Arijit Dutta, proprietor of Priya Cinemas and vice-president of the Film Federation of India.
Ever since multiplexes came up in the city, the footfall at single screen theatres had thinned drastically. But Vidya's "Kahaani", the gripping tale of a woman in search of her husband, is such a hit that it is single-handedly luring audiences to these halls.
It's a boon for single-screen theatres which are suddenly minting money. Some such theatres are Jaya-1, Malancha, Elite, Mitra, Ajanta-1, New Empire, Menoka and Ashoka.
The price of tickets at Jaya-1 ranges from Rs.70 for the rear stall to Rs.110 for the balcony on week days. The price at Ajanta-1 ranges from Rs.60 to Rs.80 for the rear stall and Rs.100-120 for the balcony depending on show timings.
" 'Kahaani' is doing very good. In the first week, the sale was 70 percent, in the second 85 percent and in the third week it's 75 percent. The movie is doing much better than other movies which have released around the same time," said Manik Bhowmick of Jaya cinema in Lake Town.
"Kahaani" is set in the backdrop of Kolkata and Vidya plays a software programmer, who comes to the city from London in search of her husband, who is the father of her unborn child. The thriller also features Bengali actor Parambrata Chatterjee, Saswata Chatterjee, Dhritiman Chatterjee and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in prominent roles.
Arijit Dutta, proprietor of Priya Cinemas and an actor himself, feels if a film is good it is bound to do well in single screens.
"If a movie is good it is bound to do well in single screens because there are more single screens in West Bengal than multiplexes. Due to the high capacity of single screen theatres the footfall is much higher than multiplexes. The same thing happened with Salman Khan's 'Dabangg'," said Dutta.
Released March 9, the film is going houseful in most places and the overall collection so far is Rs.54.55 crore.
"Kahaani" has also proved wrong those who said that Vidya's "The Dirty Picture" triumphed because it was full of skin show. Despite no skin show and no glamour, it has rocked the box office, thanks to Vidya's powerful performance, the storyline and Ghosh's deft treatment to the script.
The craze for the movie is such that the Monalisa Guest House in south Kolkata's Sarat Bose Road which featured in the movie by playing host to the main protagonist Vidya Bagchi (Vidya) has now turned into a tourist spot.
"The week the film released more than 30-40 people used to come every day to have a glimpse of the guest house and room no 15. Now the number of visitors is around 15-20," said Adhir Sahoo, assistant manager, Monalisa Guest House.
The guest house authorities allow the fans to have a glimpse of the room only if the room is not occupied by a boarder.
(Pradipta Tapadar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)