Is 'Sarkar Raj' a hit? The debate continues

Jul 1, 2008 NR

Mumbai, July 1 (IANS) Is "Sarkar Raj" a hit? While the movie-going public is not conscerned about its box-office fate after having seen the film, Bollywood trade circles are still debating over claims made by its producers and distributors that it is a "hit".

The political thriller, featuring Bollywod icon Amitabh Bachchan along with his son Abhishek and daughter-in-law Aishwarya, was directed by Ram Gopal Varma and produced by K Sera Sera and Z Picture Company.

It is rare in Bollywood that a producer and a distributor reveal their account books, but "Sarkar Raj" producers last week inserted an advertisement in Bollywood trade magazines, revealing the movie's financial details.

Generally, the yardstick to judge a movie's performance, is never known to others. Because it is never disclosed how much money has actually gone into its making and how much it has collected at the box-office.

So, the financial details of "Sarkar Raj" published in the trade magazine seem a bit intriguing.

As per the advertisement, "Sarkar Raj," made at a cost of Rs.250 million, recovered Rs.380 million by selling its world theatrical and satellite rights to Balaji Distributors and another Rs.25 million from the sale of audio and home video rights to T-Series.

Thus, the movie accrued to the producer a profit of Rs.130 million even before it was released.

Out of Rs.380 million spent for acquiring the rights of "Sarkar Raj", Balaji earned Rs.220 million across the table by selling the overseas rights for Rs.80 million and the satellite rights for Rs.140 million.

According to the advertisement, all that Balaji needed to break even was another Rs.160 million from the domestic box-office, which is projected to fetch Rs.300 million, earning it a cool profit of Rs.140 million.

In the fourth of week of its run so far, "Sarkar Raj" has yet to touch the magic figure of Rs.160 million. It has just about earned so much as to enable the sub-distributors to earn their commission from the domestic box-office sales.

"In film parlance, 'Sarkar Raj' can be strictly termed as 'a commission earner'. In layman's language, it is a semi-hit film," Shyam Shroff of Shringar Films, a well-known Mumbai-based distribution firm, told IANS.

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