Multiplexes warm up to 'Dostana'

Nov 14, 2008 IANS

New Delhi, Nov 14 (IANS) Filmmaker Karan Johar's much-hyped Gen-Next movie "Dostana" was released Friday, but industry experts said it got a mixed response in terms of bookings because of its humorous take on male sexuality.

Starring Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham, who pretend to be gay in the movie, "Dostana" is drawing huge advance bookings in multiplexes but leaving single-screens cold, say trade pundits.

"'Dostana' is a multiplex movie and it may fare well in the international market like Karan Johar's previous movies, but not so much for the single-screens here. Considering its bold subject dealing with sexual orientation of men, it is targeted only for the gentry and not the masses," Joginder Mahajan, a Delhi-based distributor, told IANS.

Ajit Jain, programmer for leading single-screens in Uttar Pradesh, echoed the same and said: "Karan Johar's films are mostly for the upper class and not for the masses.

"Just like his previous movies 'Kal Ho Naa Ho' and 'Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna', 'Dostana' is also over the board with its content in comparison to the standard conventions of the middle-class people who might find it hard to accept the subject shown in the movie," he added.

Produced by Dharma Productions, the film is the directorial debut of Karan's second unit assistant director Tarun Mansukhani.

Set entirely in Miami, "Dostana" also stars Priyanka Chopra and Bobby Deol.

The trade pundits are not reacting positively to Abhishek's presence in the film. His earlier two releases - "Sarkar Raj" and "Drona" - bombed at the box office.

"Abhishek Bachchan's films have not been doing well this year. So, the industry people are also keeping their fingers crossed for 'Dostana', as he has not proved to be lucky and profitable at all this year," Mahajan said.

In terms of budget, producer Karan has invested around Rs.450 million in the movie, which was shot entirely in Miami. Distributed by Yash Raj Films (YRF), the film released with approximately 1,000 prints worldwide.

According to an industry insider, Karan sold the distribution rights of the movie for Rs.900 million to Yash Raj Films.

A reliable source from PVR cinemas said: "It's going house full in mostly all our multiplexes and we have bookings till Sunday so far."

Tushar Dhingra, COO, BIG cinemas said: "It's opened very well here in Mumbai and till now we are going really good on bookings."

Dharma Productions' first movie made in 1980 was also called "Dostana" and it starred Amitabh Bachchan, Shatrughan Sinha and Zeenat Aman in the lead.

However, the two movies have nothing in common other than their titles.

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