Shah Rukh Khan returns to the silver screen for the second time this year with Imtiaz Ali’s ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’. The hype and euphoria that we usually associate with a Shah Rukh Khan film, which was at its peak with ‘Raees’ earlier this year, seems to be missing this time around.
The response to the advance booking is decent at main cities, but poor elsewhere (by SRK standards). While ‘Bahubali 2: The Conclusion’ is in a different league altogether, ‘Raees’ takes the second spot, followed by ‘Tubelight’. But even compared to a film like ‘Tubelight’, the advance of ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’ (as of 6PM on Thursday) is much lower barring a couple of cities.
Factors in favour of Jab Harry Met Sejal:
Shah Rukh Khan: He remains one of the biggest crowd pullers in the industry, but his stardom will be tested with a film like ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’. His fanbase extends to every nook and corner of the country, but urban rom-coms like ‘JHMS’ will restrict his pull at tier-2 and tier-3 cities. Yet, SRK will remain the single biggest reason why the audience would want to watch the film this weekend.
Anushka Sharma: One of the most popular actresses in the industry today, Anushka’s presence will add tremendous value to ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’. Her presence in the promos has found appreciation too.
Music: The songs have worked, there’s no outright chartbuster but songs have grown on the audience.
Factors against Jab Harry Met Sejal:
Promos: When we did the theatre survey towards the end of June, the promos of ‘JHMS’ had received a poor response. The trailer was better received, but it came too late. It’s crucial for films to get their main-trailer right and then make sure it reaches the target audience by screening it in theatres. That’s probably the best and most effective form of promotion. Unfortunately, footfalls in theatres post the release of ‘JHMS’ trailer has been dismal.
Imtiaz Ali: The director has his following, but even some of his good films only cater to a small section of the audience. When the budget is high and the lead star is someone like a SRK who commands a pan-India following, his treatment becomes a negative.
Release period: ‘JHMS’ has one week to perform before it loses out on screens to ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’. So it either has to get a big initial and cover costs within the first week or carry excellent word-of-mouth to survive beyond the first weekend.
There are other factors like the phase that the industry is going through at the moment. After the ‘Bahubali 2’ madness in April / May, barring ‘Tubelight’ and ‘Half Girlfriend’, no film has even managed a face-saving opening at the box office.
IndicineFBO: Predicting films has become increasing difficult in recent times, what with our accuracy levels dropping quite considerably in the last 3 months compared to the first 2.5 years of IndicineFBO predictions. The Day 1 collections are falling in the range that can be termed as ‘shocking’ and we hope that isn’t the case with ‘JHMS’.
We are going with a prediction of Rs 17 crore for the opening day of ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’.