Filmi Fundas

A new benchmark

The ease with which a film is touching the Rs 100 crore mark and beyond
is surprising all industry insiders. It is making them wonder if a new yardstick is needed
to define a film’s ‘superhit’ status. Recently, Agneepath emerged as a clear winner at the box office when it crossed the Rs 100 crore mark. Of the ten films in Bollywood history to have scaled this, eight have come since Dabangg in late 2010.

Trade analyst Komal Nahta says the benchmark itself is a new one. “It is a good thing that films are routinely churning out that kind of money. But it doesn’t necessarily determine whether a film is a hit or not. As a thumb rule, we check if the film has recovered its investment or not.

So if a film makes up about 60-70 per cent of its investment, it is considered a hit. If it doubles its cost, it’s a superhit,” he says pointing out that Ra.One may have earned Rs 100 crore but it’s still not a hit because it was made on a budget of Rs 165 crore.

“On the other hand, you have smaller films like Love Sex Aurr Dhokha or Pyaar Ka Punchnama, which gave terrific returns considering that they were made on a low budget. ‘3 Idiots’, in fact, made Bollywood history by raking in more than Rs 300 crore and several other films are greedily eyeing the Rs 200 and Rs 300 crore mark. We’ll argue again when the yardsticks change,” he adds.

‘Vikram made me focus on acting’

Bipasha Basu, who delivered one of her biggest hits with Vikram Bhatt, gives credit to the director for inspiring her to get into acting.

   They teamed up for 2002 ghost movie Raaz and now they are working together after a decade in Raaz 3D. “Raaz was a golden jubilee and none of the actors of my age had ever had it. It’s amazing working with Vikram after so many years. It’s very nostalgic because Vikram actually got me interested in acting as I was lost,” said Bipasha.

   “I didn’t go to college. I dropped out of school and started modelling. I was very young and was going through that flux where everyone
decides what to do in life.

After modelling, I was wondering what to do. I was bored of modelling. That time
actually, Vikram got me to focus on this profession. So coming back and working with him after so many years is fabulous,” she added.

Bipasha feels the element of horror will be higher in Raaz 3. 

“In Raaz 3, we have a very good story, the emotional quotient is very high and the element of horror is very high. Besides, we have it in 3D,” the 33-year-old said. This is Bipasha’s first 3D venture and she said, “Technically, the film is very advanced. It was a different experience in the beginning because 3D cameras are different and the way you look at the monitors is different. So it took me a day to adapt to everything and then I realised how interesting the process is. It’s a good experience to work like that.”

She had teamed up with Dino Morea in Raaz but this time, she has Emraan Hashmi as her co-star. 

“I have seen his work and he is a tremendous actor. We were pushed into the most difficult roles into the first week in Raaz 3 and we were like balls of energy hitting each other. It was amazing to see him perform.”

Nightmarish reality

Blood Money’, starring Kunal Khemu and Amrita Puri, is about a young man’s journey back to his love and redemption after his dreams turn into a nightmare. The film starts with Kunal Kadam, the protagonist of the film, bagging his dream job. Trinity Diamonds has offered him a job in their trading department, in return for a six-figure salary, a fancy house, a car and the opportunity to move to Cape Town, South Africa. Kunal jumps at the offer.

His high school sweetheart Arzoo is a nursery school teacher by profession. When he tells her about his job offer, she is a little skeptical of moving abroad. She tells him how they are happy in their own country and how he could get a job in Mumbai itself, but Kunal tells her of how he has always dreamt of going abroad and making a life there. Finally Arzoo gives in to his desires and agrees. They get married and move to Cape Town.

Kunal is eager to prove himself while Arzoo spends endless nights home alone as Kunal works away at the office. She tries to mingle with other firm wives but is unable to fit in with their champagne and spa lifestyles.

Kunal is now exposed to the inner operations of the company, and he starts to notice things that don’t add up. This is when he questions his boss, who reveals to him the dark secret — that this firm, isn’t only a diamond trading company but also a front for the mafia to launder their illegal money.

The firm buys illicit blood diamonds from Africa with hard cash made from the trafficking of drugs and guns, and then mixes them with licit diamonds, selling them at manipulated prices, in effect laundering illegal money. How Kunal comes out of this messy business forms the rest of the story.

Directed by Vishal Mahadkar, the film is all set to release in March.

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