Encouraging bookings for 'Romeo', 'Heroes'

Oct 23, 2008 IANS

New Delhi, Oct 23 (IANS) Two much-talked about animation films - "Roadside Romeo" and "Heroes" - both releasing Friday are garnering a cheerful response in terms of advance bookings despite releasing just three days before Diwali. But trade pundits say there are dim chances of the movies setting the cash registers ringing.

"Reports are not good for both 'Roadside Romeo' and 'Heroes' and there are less expectations as these are releasing just days before Diwali which is not a good period for movie business," a Delhi-based distributor Joginder Mahajan told IANS.

"They haven't even been promoted well so their chances are slim for faring well at the box office. The time slot for the release is also not meaty because the movies will be followed by three films within just four days - 'Fashion', 'Golmaal Returns' and 'EMI'," he added.

"Fashion", "Golmaal Returns" and "EMI" hit the screens a day after Diwali.

However, a reliable source from PVR cinemas showed confidence in "Roadside Romeo" and "Heroes" and said: "We are having a good booking response for both the movies till Sunday. It'll be a mixed choice for the audiences as the movies are releasing over a long weekend. Considering that previous weeks' release 'Karzzz' is not doing very well at the box office, 'Roadside Romeo' and 'Heroes' will get some advantage."

Said Rishi Chopra, director-in-charge of another cineplex 3Cs here: "We are not playing 'Heroes' though it is a multi-starrer. We have opted for 'Roadside Romeo' because it is big banner movie. Though pre-Diwali week is considered to be a slow week in terms of business, we are hopeful that it will do a good business.

"The movie will attract children who would by default come with family and once a cinema hall gets a family audience, it automatically brings in business," he explained.

Written and directed by debutant Jugal Hansraj, "Roadside Romeo" is India's first ever three-dimensional (3D) mainstream animation project being co-produced by Yash Raj Films (YRF) Studio and Hollywood studio Walt Disney Co.

It has been visualised, executed and delivered by a 150-member team of Tata group's Tech arm Tata Elxsi and has voiceovers from Bollywood actors Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Javed Jaffrey among others.

The movie narrates a light-hearted tale of a pet dog named Romeo (voiced by Saif) who is left by his owners on the mean streets of Mumbai where he meets Laila (voiced by Kareena) and encounters with Charlie Anna (voiced by Javed).

While, "Heroes" is a multi-starrer co-written and directed by Sameer Karnik Aseem Arora. Loosely based on the cult classic "The Motorcycles Diaries", the film is about a road trip of two guys - Sohail Khan and Vatsal Seth with patriotism as the backdrop.

Other stars in the film include Salman Khan, Preity Zinta, Sunny Deol, Bobby Deol, Dino Morea, Mithun Chakraborty, Amrita Arora and Riya Sen.

In terms of budget, where in producers Samir Karnik, Bharat Shah and Vikas Kapoor have invested around Rs.200 million in "Heroes", YRF refused to divulge any details regarding "Roadside Romeo". Karnik also did not respond when contacted by IANS.

Jugal, who was here to promote his movie, is cold feet for his debut venture and at the same time confident of the audiences reaction.

He told IANS: "I am having butterflies in the stomach as the release date is approaching but still I am sure people will like the movie. We haven't made this film to teach or preach anything or to compete with anyone. It's a fun-filled movie for both kids and adults and has been made for them to have a good time."

Mahajan contradicted Jugal's optimism regarding his film and asserted: "Animation has always been an unsuccessful experiment in India so 'Roadside Romeo' should be ready to face the consequences."

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