Industry pins hope on Rab Ne Bana Di post jaded weeks

Mumbai: Post the terror attacks in Mumbai; the Hindi film industry has been affected quite badly. While some movies like The President Is Coming and Khallballi have postponed their releases, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, slated to release on 12 December, will hit the theaters as scheduled.

The expectations from Rab Ne… are high because it is Shah Rukh Khan’s first release of the year and director Aditya Chopra’s latest after Mohabbatien, which released eight years ago. However, are people in the mood to watch a film now? To think audience will pour into theatres to watch Rab Ne in same numbers as planned earlier, is an overtly optimistic view.

But a multiplex official said, "After a long lull period, Rab Ne… looks like a nice family movie and people will come to theatres to de-stress irrespective of the fear. Also, security has been beefed up at multiplexes by four times and we are communicating this to our patrons. In fact Rab Ne may actually help in improving the occupancy at multiplexes, which has been badly hit in recent times. We are also receiving a lot of bulk and corporate bookings for this movie."

If some industry experts are to be believed, the box office collection of Rab Ne will witness a slump by 10 – 15 percent in the Bombay territory. The rest of the country should not be affected radically. Additionally, a lot also depends on the state of affairs on the day of release and thereafter.

The security at multiplexes has strengthened in Mumbai and various other cities; the audience going to multiplexes pass through stringent inspection. The multiplexes are also taking steps to convey to their loyal patrons about safety in multiplexes. But what about audience who will not go to a theatre in the first place?

At this point in time, factors are working in favor of the movie and also against it. Firstly, certain chunk of people are still angry about the terror attacks, many are still insecure about their safety at public places, to make things worse newsflashes of bomb blast, bomb scare, gunshots make their way every other day.

On the other side, there is another section of the public that needs a break, needs to de-stress and what better way than to watch a movie starring Khan and directed by Chopra. If Rab Ne… fairs well in this circumstance, the ball will automatically roll for Jumbo and Ghajini too.

While the fate of this movie at the Indian box office cannot be ascertained fully, another factor that comes into play is the fact that Yash Raj’s and Khan’s movies have a big overseas market hence the overseas collection will be undeterred.

After an array of unsuccessful attempts, Rab Ne is anticipated to be Yash Raj’s bumper movie for 2008. All multiplexes have already suffered losses in the range of Rs 15 million (Rs 1.5 crores) during 27 November to 30 November. The advance booking of the movie is delayed by three days and will open on 10 December instead of 7 December. Also, multiplexes are paying a higher share of revenue than usual for this movie to Yash Raj Films. It’s no wonder then that the industry and even more so the exhibition sector is pinning its hopes on Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi.