Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Despite Controversy Madhuri Dixit's Aaja Nachle failed to start big at box office

Controversies mostly act as oxygen for films. However, the row over the objectionable lyrics in "Aaja Nachle" that led to a brief ban on the film in some states, couldn`t work wonders for it.

According to box-office reports, Madhuri Dixit`s much-awaited comeback vehicle opened to a poor response of 25 to 30 percent across the country and hasn`t set the cash registers ringing yet.

"As compared to other Yash Raj movies, `Aaja Nachle` hasn`t got a great opening. Even the hype hasn`t helped it," Deepak Taluja, vice president of operations at Fun Cinemas, told agencies.

"The film registered 50 to 55 percent occupancy in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. With up to 60 percent in Rajasthan and Mumbai it was a little better over the weekend. Only in Bangalore we recorded 90 to 95 percent occupancy," he added.

In the capital and its suburbs, the occupancy in some popular multiplexes was dismal. JAM had 30 percent, Satyam about 65 percent and M2K Cinemas had less than 40 percent.

However, it is expected that increased curiosity amid viewers might bring them to cinema halls in the coming weeks.

"The film is doing reasonably better than those which are already going on in multiplexes. It is also expected that by Wednesday and in coming weeks, the movie might pick up courtesy the high curiosity among audiences," said Pramod Arora, president and CEO of PVR Ltd., who refused to divulge the occupancy figure.

The film was banned in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana after Dalit leaders alleged that the title song made derogatory insinuation about the community.

The objectionable portion of the title song was: "Bazar mein machi hai maramar; bole mochi bhi khud ko sunar" (There is so much chaos in the market that even a cobbler is calling himself a jeweller).

Trouble first erupted when Udit Raj, who heads the Indian Justice Party, Friday led a demonstration to a movie hall in New Delhi where the film was being screened.

The ban was revoked after producer Yash Chopra tendered an apology and removed the objectionable line from the title song.

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