Post Ghajini & Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, all eyes on CC2C

MUMBAI: If Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi brought some box office cheer for the Hindi film industry, Ghajini only went on to multiply that cheer by leaps and bounds. The fag end of the year has given the industry reason to smile from ear to ear and hum "Everything’s Gonna Be Alright" along with Akshay ‘Jumbo’ Kumar!

If collections of the Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan starrers are anything to go by, it can safely be said that the entertainment industry IS recession proof and that everything is on its way to becoming alright.

Notwithstanding that, the question on everyone’s lips is – "What Next?" and the first movie that comes to mind is Chandni Chowk To China (CC2C) starring the much dependable non-Khan — Akshay Kumar! Releasing on 16 January, it will be the first biggie of 2009 and also stars Deepika Padukone.

While sporadic promotions around the movie began sometime back, the makers seem to have been waiting for the Ghajini wave to pass and then go the whole hog on CC2C. Akshay has been a crowd puller lately; however, expectations will be especially high after the audience has tasted Ghajini and the marketing hoopla around it. While the two movies are not of similar genre, it is usually the actors who get pitted against each other and hence innumerable comparisons are bound to pour in.

What worked in Ghajini’s favour is the very fact that is an Aamir Khan starrer. Expectations have always been high from him as he raises and pushes the bar each year. To add to that, the makers drummed in a huge media building exercise around the movie that helped in further upping curiosity levels. Aamir Khan was all out! And if that was not enough, the television, internet and print media fed fresh fodder about the movie every single day to the audience, which was voraciously lapped up! Most importantly, this entire exercise converted into footfalls at the theatres, which had always been the desired ultimate result.

So, will Chandi Chowk To China manage to better this in terms of promotions and box office collections? Industry professionals spoke to said that it would be difficult for any movie to match the Ghajini hype as the movie had been in the news for over a period of two years due to various reasons and it is Aamir Khan’s first and only release of the year. "Closer to the film’s release, fresh marketing adrenaline was pumped in which helped the movie immensely. The biggest conundrum for CC2C is the fact that it is the first big release of 2009 and it has very strong immediate predecessors. The movie will have to match up to that in order to get the desired results," said one professional.

Another producer adds, "Akshay Kumar reportedly prefers to be out of the country when his movie is scheduled to release. Once the pre-release hype is taken care of, the post-release media banging will play a larger role in contributing to the movie’s subsequent success and for that Akshay needs to be present. Moreover, since investment on movies are high, now one needs to think beyond the opening weekend in the light of the current economic scenario."

While the end of 2008 brought the much needed respite to the Hindi film industry, one hopes that the beginning of the New Year too brings in as much cheer from Chandni Chowk to China and beyond!