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Bollywood Talk – Will Roohi finally bring audiences to cinemas in hordes

Photo Credit: Supplied

Exactly a year ago, the last major film before the lockdown, ‘Angrezi Medium’ (2020), was released this week. It was produced by Dinesh Vijan and it sadly had a run of just 4-5 days in cinemas. A week before the Irrfan Khan starrer release, ‘Kaamyaab’ (2020), directed by Hardik Mehta, had made it to cinemas. And as luck would have it, a year after the release of small and not-so-exciting films, the first major Hindi film to release post lockdown is here. And coincidentally, ‘Roohi’ is directed by Hardik Mehta and produced by Dinesh Vijan!

‘Roohi’ stars Rajkummar Rao, Janhvi Kapoor and Varun Sharma and is a part of the horror comedy universe. The first part of this universe, ‘Stree’ (2018), was one of the biggest grossers of 2018 and also starred Rajkummar Rao, along with Shraddha Kapoor. Just like ‘Stree’ (2018), ‘Roohi’ also seems to be in the same space and that’s a plus. After all, ‘Stree’ was patronized not just by the youth but also by families and that’s why it became a Rs. 124.56 crore grosser. ‘Roohi’ can also target the same audience and emerge a hit. Two songs of the film – “Panghat” and “Nadiyon Paar” have got noticed and appreciated.

On the flipside, the trailer hasn’t really created the desired impact. The film looks fun and exciting but only to an extent. ‘Stree’s trailer had single-handedly generated huge buzz for the film. And then the songs like “Milegi Milegi” and “Kamariya” had added to the hype. Here, the trailer has been found okay by most people and songs, though interesting, haven’t really caught on the way it should have. Moreover, the marketing is very low. Many aren’t aware that it’s releasing today (Thursday, March 11). Also, viewers are used to watching films on online platforms and they might mistake that ‘Roohi’ is also going the OTT way. One wishes if ‘Roohi’s producers had focused on this aspect and made it clear that it’s releasing only in cinemas.

‘Roohi’ is getting a wide release. However, with limited buzz, one wonders how much it’s opening would be. Moreover, it’s releasing on Thursday to take advantage of Mahashivratri holiday. Even then, the opening would be poor, in the Rs. 1.50-2.50 crore range. The collections might pick up from Friday evening, provided the word of mouth is positive. And then Saturday and Sunday’s collections can be encouraging. If word of mouth, however, is not great, then the film might crash. Unlike pre-lockdown when collections didn’t come down rapidly for a poor film, here it can as viewers are not used to going to cinemas. Also, with the second wave supposedly at the doorstep, moviegoers would go to cinemas to watch the film only if it’s worth watching.

Nevertheless, the makers of ‘Roohi’ need to be appreciated for releasing it in such a time. Also, it kickstarts the movie watching season as from now on, there’s going to be a major film releasing almost every week. The producers of ‘Sooryavanshi’ are now also looking forward to the response to Roohi. Till now, ‘Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari’ has been the biggest grosser post pandemic but even that film collected around Rs. 4.10 crore, with opening day figures amounting to Rs. 55 lakhs. If ‘Roohi’ collects more than that on the first day and on the weekend, it’ll be heartening and make it clear that audiences are ready to come to theaters in hordes, especially if exciting content is made available to them.

Two more films would release this week, on March 12. ‘Time To Dance’ stars Sooraj Pancholi and marks the debut of Katrina Kaif’s sister Isabelle Kaif. It is directed by Remo Dsouza’s assistant, Stanley DCosta. The film has been ready since almost two years and there were reports that it was shelved. The trailer is strictly okay and despite being a dance musical, it’s songs haven’t picked up. The awareness is negligible and it’ll have a tough time at the box office. The final release is ‘Fauji Calling’, starring Sharman Joshi, Bidita Bag, Mugdha Godse and Zarina Wahab. Again, there’s neither awareness nor excitement about this one and it’ll sink without a trace.

Fauji Calling is releasing on the 11th March and it has garnered huge support from the government

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