Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; September 27, 2013)
Ranbir Kapoor had unabashedly announced his plans to become the “number one” in Bollywood during a recent interview with this paper and he seems intent on the feat as he has now broken a record held previously by Shah Rukh Khan. SRK had gone out of his way to ensure that his last release, Chennai Express, had the biggest release ever for a Hindi film with 3500 screens in India and 700 plus screens abroad. His efforts also led to allegations of foul play from Ekta Kapoor’s camp after their production Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaara got a limited release on day one because of the SRK starrer’s blitzkrieg. But now Ranbir has beaten the actor in the numbers game with Besharam, distributed by Reliance Entertainment, which will be released in atleast 3600 screens in India, making it the biggest release in Hindi film history till date.
When contacted, Utpal Acharya, Distribution Head of Reliance Entertainment, confirmed the news. “Yes, Besharam will be the largest release till date, both in India and abroad. I am looking at 3600 plus screens. I had planned for 4000 screens but Pawan Kalyan’s Telugu film Attarintiki Daredi which releases today has a got a phenomenal response in advance booking. That takes away some screens which I had planned in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala,” he said.
And justifying his decision, Acharya told Mirror, “I am very confident of Besharam, it is a full family commercial entertainer and more the screens, more the revenue.”
The race to rope in the most number of screens has become a favourite tactic of the industry as the larger the number of theatres showing a film, the bigger the first day collection.
While some trade insiders say that a larger release does not necessarily translate into higher revenue in totality, a leading distributor (on request of anonymity) told us, “You need to have a film like Chennai Express or Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, which sustains fabulously, to get the numbers. Else it just amounts to higher collections on only day one and this is simply because the film is more in your face. If Besharam is accepted well, yes, then it would definitely make sense to release in so many screens. And yes, even 100-150 more screens can make a difference.”
Trade analyst Taran Adarsh said, “A wide release can go well with a big film like Besharam. Post Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Ranbir has become a big craze. Plus, you have the Dabangg director Abhinav Kashyap holding the reins.”
Acharya offers another justification of the numbers game saying, “When the film releases at a large number of theatres, the audience can pick and choose where they want to see it, an expensive one or a cheaper option. So, more the screens, lesser the piracy.”