Will controversy boost ‘Udta Punjab’ at box office?
Mumbai, June 17 (IANS) Abhishek Chaubey’s “Udta Punjab” finally hit the screens on Friday accompanied by hype and expectation. According to trade experts, the controversy around the film “Udta Punjab” will give a tremendous boost to the opening of the film.
However, the film’s leakage two days before its release on the internet is being seen as a big blow to the film’s box office potential.
“The online leakage has resulted in a huge dent in the opening collections. Anurag Kashyap’s appeal to audiences not to watch the film online until Saturday is futile,” said a marketing head of a leading multiplex chain.
“Youngsters are eager to see ‘Udta Punjab’. They will see it online. We expected an opening of 70-80 per cent. It has now opened to around 50-55 per cent occupancy,” he added.
Trade analyst Atul Mohan said: “The curiosity surrounding ‘Udta Punjab’ has only built up over the weeks. But unfortunately, for the makers, the film got leaked online and the response is very mixed.
“So after this, it would be interesting to see how the film opens. Had it not come online, the opening expected would have been one of the biggest of this year.”
Trade pundit Amod Mehra feels the film will have a terrific weekend.
“At least Rs. 5-7 crore initially… Plus if the content is weak, it will not crash next day and if the content is strong, then the sky’s the limit.”
Film critic Raja Sen thinks the movie will get a “huge opening weekend, much more than it would normally have got”.
“There has been so much talk of ‘Udta Punjab’ — the cuts, the banned words et al — that curiosity is very high. I just hope the film is consumed as a film and not as whatever people expect it to be based on the hype and the news cycles.”
Relieved and rejuvenated, Madhu Mantena, a partner in Phantom Films — the co-producer of the movie, says: “We fought a long and sleepless battle to get ‘Udta Punjab’ into theatres on time and we succeeded.
“Yes, the online leakage will affect our box office. But finally, even those who watch the pirated stuff on the internet would come to the theatres. We are sure of that.”