Bollywood hopes for rain of hits in April

Mar 26, 2006 Priyanka Khanna

New Delhi, March 26 (IANS) A two-week run by comic caper "Malamaal Weekly" on the heels of hit film "Rang De Basanti" has provided a much-needed respite to Hindi cinema even as the trade enters a crucial phase in April.

After a slow beginning in the first quarter - a perennial annual feature, the trade is looking forward to making merry from April to June when schools and colleges in most parts of the country close for summer vacations.

A surfeit of films is ready to hit the celluloid screen in the coming months. INOX programmes manager Arun Sharma says April has six major film releases confirmed and that there are 11 films still awaiting release.

This is an annual feature - filmmakers time releases to coincide with students being relatively free, trade watchers say.

Analyst Taran Adarsh said: "Over the years, the months of April, May and June have witnessed a plethora of movies vying for audience attention. The trend was no different in the 1970s. It continued in the 1980s and the 1990s. This year is no exception either."

Of late, the film industry had been badly hit by flops. The lone hit - "Rang De Basanti" - painted a miserable hit-to-flop ratio from a business point of view.

In addition, last week's "Umar" And "Banana Brothers" sank without a trace. Though the audience was game for watching character actors hog the limelight in "Malamaal Weekly", they did not patronise "Umar" with veterans - Kader Khan, Prem Chopra, Satish Kaushik - in pivotal roles and "Banana Brothers" with Anupam Kher, Gulshan Grover and Johnny Lever.

Adarsh added: "Practically, every film - big or small - has an 'all India open' status today. Translated into simple terms, it means that the films are lying unsold for practically every territory.

"The distributors are in no mood to acquire the rights - partly because market conditions are awful and partly because they've burnt their fingers with the past few releases. Producers have been forced to distribute films themselves due to a genuine dearth of buyers. The arithmetic of film-making is in a shambles."

The cold wave is blowing over the overseas markets and music territory as well, making the coming months all the more crucial for Bollywood.

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