'Om Shanti Om' beats 'Saawariya' at the box office

Nov 11, 2007 Shweta Thakur

New Delhi, Nov 10 (IANS) The audience verdict is out. The box office seems to favour Shah Rukh Khan's "Om Shanti Om" in comparison to Sanjay Leela Bhansali's much-touted magnum opus "Saawariya".

While King Khan's film registered 90 percent occupancy across the country on its Diwali release, Bhansali's love story managed 60 percent.

"Om Shanti Om" is director Farah Khan's tribute to the colourful and vibrant cinemas of the 70s and it has Shah Rukh is a new avatar, going shirtless and displaying his six-pack abs, while Bhansali's film is a mystical love story set in Shimla and introduces new faces.

According to Vishal Kapur, COO of Fun Cinemas, the Shah Rukh film has generated a lot of repeat audience interest in comparison to "Saawariya".

"Among our 15 cineplexes across the country, the bigger ones did a business of at least Rs.500,000 and smaller ones Rs.150,000 on Friday. 'Saawariya' churned out Rs.350,000 at the big centres, while at the smaller ones it could only manage to collect Rs.78,000," Kapur told IANS.

Kapur feels that "Om Shanti Om" could prove an even bigger Shah Rukh hit than his last "Chak De! India".

"It could do better than 'Chak De!' which picked up after the positive reviews. However, 'Om Shanti Om' had a great opening. I am a little doubtful about 'Saawariya'," said Kapur.

The audience response can be gauged from Anirban Basu, a movie buff who saw both the films. "'Om Shanti Om' is much more entertaining than 'Saawariya'. SRK's film has a perfect blend of comedy and drama while Bhansali's film is stale and boring. It is extremely slow. Apart from the lavish sets there is nothing in the film to hold the audiences' interest."

The difference of how well both the films would do in the coming days is also evident from the advance bookings.

"For Saturday, 50 percent of advance booking has been done for 'Om Shanti Om' while for 'Saawariya' it is just a little over 20 percent," said Ashok Bisht, assistant manager of JAM multiplex, Noida.

With both the films in tough competition, the weekend will prove boom time for the multiplexes across the country.

"With two big films releasing the same day, this weekend will prove to be a big money spinner for all multiplexes. However, we have noticed a new trend among some viewers - they want to watch both films," said Gautam Dutt, chief marketing officer of PVR Cinema.

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