Bahubali - The Conclusion came over three months back and took business to a level which no one thought could happen but since then the Hindi film industry has been in limbo with failure after failure. Tubelight was a jolt to the system and there has not been a recovery with practically every major film going down. The industry likes to put it down to things like that openings are tough and the audience not coming but this is all hogwash as its upto the films to being in the audience. If a Tubelight failed on content then others have not had a look or been presented in a way that the audience will come. Some may have had decent content but if you can't get the enough audience to come to the theatres then content can only take it so far unless of course its a small film.
This week it is Jab Harry Met Sejal which has Shahrukh Khan and music as the plus factors. The music may not have had a chart buster but its songs are successful. Obviously Shahrukh Khan is going to bring some sort of the audience to the theatres but again Jab Harry Met Sejal is not the killer opening type as the content is not universal. The demographics of its business give it potential to grow over the weekend and when that is there the opening can't be bumper. Its not a five city film but its also not more than a ten city film unless its a huge surprise. The metros are there and it could also have an audience in places like Chandigarh, Baroda, Hyderbad etc but to expect it to work in a Gorakhpur, Ajmer, Jabalpur may be pushing it. Basically its an urban film with the starpower of Shahrukh Khan which can take it a little further. Hardly any urban crosses 100 crore nett so here a 150 crore nett total would be a good result which may not be a Shahrukh Khan blockbuster but its a big number for this type of film.
The film will release on around 2100 theatres which should take it to around 3200 screens. Raees had opened on 2700 theatres and went to 3400 screens as its multiplexes screens were shared. The advance of Jab Harry Met Sejal opened on Sunday but it was yesterday (Wednesday) that it picked up and that has been seen with the big releases over the last year or so, the advance contribution on Wednesday and Thursday is huge. It will in the evening that it will be known where the film stands against the likes of Tubelight and Raees in terms of advance.
The biggest negative for Jab Harry Met Sejal is the director Imtiaz Ali who tends to make similar films which are about a journey of two people and tend to be labelled love stories but romance is usually missing or at least the Yash Chopra type which the audience sees as romance and brings the families in hordes. The director had a success in Jab We Met (2007) which found appreciation at some places only and then Love Aaj Kal opened on the super hit music but could not really sustain post the first week. The less said about the others the better. The hope is that when you direct a superstar you get the responsibility of catering to a wider audience which the superstar will bring and you live upto the responsibility, not only for the sake of the film and the fans of the superstar but the industry in general.