Posted: 24 January 2005 at 1:34pm | IP Logged
Showman's lost his touch
By: Mayank Shekhar
January 24, 2005
Subhash Ghai's (left) Kisna, with
Vivek Oberoi and Antonia Bernath, may
be the final call for the director's career
Subhash Ghai's Kisna is a film that has taken the lowest ever opening in the director's career," says film trade follower Amod Mehra.
While Ghai's last film Yaadein (2001) had proven to be a box-office disaster, Mehra adds, "The film had at least taken a bumper opening due to the lead-man (Hrithik Roshan). It was booted out only after the first weekend."
Footfall figures of Ghai's Kisna — a romance and adventure-laden period drama with Vivek Oberoi in the lead role, which opened this Friday — have not been tabulated. Yet, the emerging first information reports among film trade trackers suggest the Rs 30 crore film hasn't packed halls anywhere in its first weekend.
Says Trade Adarsh, editor, Trade Guide, "The initial report of Kisna has sent shockwaves across the film industry. Since it was a Subhash Ghai film, everyone had expected a much better response."
So far unconfirmed figures suggest Kisna's box-office draws to an average of around 60 to 70 per cent nationwide — it may be lesser. Also, critics have almost universally panned the picture.
Hence the key question that has the film industry huddled over is if the original showman of Bollywood has lost his Midas touch with the masses.
While opinions vary, Vinod Mirani, editor, Box Office says, "I think Subhash Ghai lost it after Ram Lakhan (1989). He has not made a unanimously successful film since. Pardes and Taal were flops too. I can't recall his last movie that crossed the Rs 2 crore-mark in the Delhi-UP territory."
Incidentally, film-trade trackers' analysis of the lukewarm initial response to Ghai's film ranges from the "lack of Vivek Oberoi's star-power" (Adarsh), "Missing massy masala elements associated with Ghai's blockbusters" (Mehra) to "a preachy and confused message of the film" (Mirani).
In a directorial career spanning about three decades, a relatively prolific Ghai has averaged a movie release at least every two years. Only twice since 1976 has he taken four years to come up with his next film — Pardes (1997) was the last such, before Kisna.
Thanks to a string of successes in the 80s, within a cinema industry that's primarily pivoted around star-actors, Ghai had earned the unique status of a showman director. How does a wane in his career affect showbiz in general?
Says Mehra, "The performance of Kisna will affect Ghai individually, since he has produced and distributed the film himself. However, there are not many financially dependable directors in contemporary cinema. The present decline in Ghai's career therefore spells extremely bad news for Bollywood."