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Last Updated : May 29, 2019 01:37 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

The Tashkent Files sets new benchmark amid small ventures as it nears 50-day run in theatres

Released on 250 screens on April 11, The Tashkent Files saw reduced number of screens every time a big-budget film hit the theatres.

Maryam Farooqui @farooqui_maryam

It is not every day when a small-ticket film stays in theatres for as long as 48 days. Vivek Agnihotri directorial The Tashkent Files has done just that, and it is all set to complete its golden jubilee in another two days.

It is a rare feat when a film made with a budget of Rs 4 crore not only continues its run despite facing competition from both Hollywood and Bollywood biggies but also rakes in a lifetime business, which is 50 times more than its day one numbers. While the film minted Rs 35 lakh on day one, it has taken its box office business to Rs 18 crore.

Released on 250 screens on April 11, The Tashkent Files saw reduced number of screens every time a big-budget film hit the theatres.

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Talking to Moneycontrol, Agnihotri said, “When Kalank came, we went down from 250 to 110 screens. But, the film picked up, and then it even got as many as 700 shows. Again, during Avengers: Endgame it (The Tashkent Files) came down to 110-105. This has been happening every single week. In Kanpur and even other cities, after the first week, the film was taken off. Then, again in the third week, they brought it back.”

The film was written off by critics. Some even gave it as low as zero stars. But, it was word of mouth and social media that helped the film continue its strong run at the box office.

“In fact, if you see all the films that have worked in the last five years had been primarily on word of mouth,” believes Agnihotri.

This is one reason why small and mid-size films are raking in numbers that were unheard of earlier.

In the beginning of this year, Uri: The Surgical Strike ran in theatres for over 50 days, and even found a mention in the speech of acting finance minister Piyush Goyal while presenting the Union Budget 2019.

And, that’s not it; small films are making big contributions when it comes to net box office collection (NBOC).

According to EY 2019 report, the contribution of big star-cast films to box office collections of the top 25 movies dropped to 23 percent in 2018, as compared to nearly 50 percent three years ago. This indicates that small movies are making inroads in the top layer of the overall film collections.

For many years, the net domestic box office collection (NBOC) of the top 25 movies was led by the top five movies. However, the scenario changed in 2018 as the revenue from the top five movies stood at Rs 1,203.3 crore versus Rs 1,772.6 crore of the top 6-25 movies.

This means that top 25 movies grew 15 percent in 2018, which was driven by movies in the 6-25 ranking that grew 37 percent year-on-year (YoY). However, the growth was partly offset by an 8 percent decline reported by the top five movies, according to a Kotak Institutional Equities (KIE) data.

Last year, the film bucket of top 6-25 showed solid growth after a few stagnant years.

The top five film bucket in 2018 includes movies like Sanju, Padmaavat, Simmba, 2.0 and Race 3. In the 6-25 bucket, Baaghi 2, Baadhai Ho, Raazi and Stree made it to the list, all falling in the mid to small-size film category with budgets ranging from Rs 24- Rs 59 crore.

Film trade analyst Sarita Singh claims that The Tashkent Files is the biggest film of the year so far in terms of return on investment (ROI). According to her, the film’s ROI is over 283 percent (considering collections at around Rs 15 crore), and it is the budget that has worked for the film, believes Singh.

In fact, Singh believes that the big Bollywood studios are bleeding because of their exceeding budgets. Yet, she says that no lesson will be learnt from the success of The Tashkent Files.

The film which tries to uncover the mystery of the death of former Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri worked well in metros and mini-metros. Agnihotri is confident that it will do well in small centres if the film reaches in such circuits.

“Till date, you will see many shows will go houseful because there was demand, and there were less number of screens so shows have been running houseful,” said Agnihotri.

But, he says that, more than houseful shows, it is the inclusion of The Tashkent Files in the curriculum of IIM-Ahemdabad as a case study that marks the success of the movie. “This film will set an example on how to market a film without actually marketing it,” added Agnihotri.

There were times that the film was even pulled out from the theatres. In Kanpur and Bhopal, theatres let go of the film due to pressure from Kalank and Avengers.

While The Tashkent files survived Kalank, Avengers and Student of the Year 2 (SOTY 2), only time will tell whether the film will stand tall against Salman Khan-starrer Bharat which will release on June 5.

“There is no sign that it will stop at 50 (days) because there is still demand which has not gone down,” said Agnihotri.

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First Published on May 29, 2019 01:37 pm
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