Why UTV Chose ‘Barfi!’ Over ‘Paan Singh Tomar’?

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"As soon as 'Barfi!' was announced as an academy award entrant the sales at the ticket counter shot up. 'Paan Singh Tomar' would not have translated into so much more business at the Indian box office," reveals an insider.

MUMBAI: The two came from the same production house, but were both of UTV’s films ‘Barfi!’ and ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ promoted on an even keel?

While the Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Ileana D’Cruz “superstars” starrer ‘Barfi!’ turned out to be India’s Official entry to the prestigious Oscars last year, the Irrfan Khan “small star” led ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ remained neglected in the backdrop.

Industry sources have revealed that though UTV produced both ‘Barfi!’ and ‘Paan Singh Tomar’, due appreciation has not been given to the latter. It is said that UTV allegedly pushed for the star-studded ‘Barfi!’ which had the young Bollywood heartthrobs Ranbir and Priyanka over the unconventional ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ in which featured the very talented Irrfan Khan.

‘Barfi!’ won many accolades and honours in the many Bollywood award functions that were held, but ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ didn’t fare as well…

Apparently the production house wished to bank on the monetary gains that a film like ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ would not have been able to acquire but ‘Barfi!’, with the star cast would find it very easy to do so.

A reliable source tells us, “The production house, when deciding between ‘Barfi’ and ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ as India’s official Entry to the Oscars opted for the former keeping in mind its commercial viability.”

Explaining further, the source added, “They knew ‘Barfi!’ would not make it through, but as soon as it was announced as an academy award entrant the sales at the ticket counter shot up. ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ was a more deserving film, but would not have translated into so much more business at the Indian box office as a Ranbir Kapoor – Priyanka Chopra starrer.”

And it looks like the production house’s predictions turned out true. As soon as  ‘Barfi!’ was declared to be India’s official entry, the lines outside ticket booths and the revenue of the producers multiplied exponentially!

Would this have happened if ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ was to go to the Oscars?

Back at the home ground, the winners of the 60th National Film Awards have just been declared. The very “India’s official Oscar entry”, ‘Barfi!’ doesn’t feature anywhere in the winners but ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ has secured the top two slots for the Best Film and the Best Actor.

Is the verdict of numerous, glamorous star-studded award functions more right than that of the Information and Broadcast Ministry’s National Film Awards?

Is ‘Barfi!’ the Best Film of the year or is ‘Paan Singh Tomar’?

Is appreciation all based only on commercial viability of the film? Is having a cherished star cast the only reason to promote one film more aggressively over the other?

We wonder how many such films have gone unnoticed, unrewarded and received a hostile reception only because they were not economically practicable.