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Kurbaan to splash across 1,700 screens

MUMBAI: This love story has more than blood on it. Kurbaan has close to Rs 50 crore (including cost of production, print and marketing) riding on it. It is a film which comes from the Dharma Productions banner (read Karan Johar), which is fast becoming synonymous with box-office success, and has advertising creative head Rensil D’Silva as debutante director. Now, its presenters, UTV Motion Pictures is going all out with a huge worldwide splash, come Friday, releasing the film across more than 1,700 screens globally, of which 1,500 are in India, with the rest split across 24 countries. “With 1,300 physical prints and 800 digital ones, this film is the biggest release ever for any Hindi film,” says CEO, UTV Motion Pictures, Siddharth Roy Kapur.

Karan Johar has been promoting this love story set against the backdrop of global terrorism. Kareena plays Avantika, a teacher from a University in Delhi, who moves base to New York due to a personal emergency. During this period, she meets a professor — Ehsaan Khan, played by Saif Ali Khan — they fall in love and get married. All hell breaks loose when a series of incidents suck Avantika and Ehsaan into a vortex of danger and intrigue. “This film warrants a wide release, unlike say Wake Up Sid, and opening weeks collections are critical, which given the subject matter will hopefully ensure,” says producer and director Karan Johar.

Increasingly, going ahead, the trend for a big star cast film or a big budget film will see bigger and wider releases. For one, the money spent on creating the hype is increasing manifold as first weekend collection make up for close to 30% of total collections, while the first week would clock in as much as 60% of the total returns. So, a lot depends on the ‘opening’ of the film, and a wider release with a tight timeline would ensure faster and more returns at the box-office. Then of course there is the piracy issue, which affects all movies within the first 48 hours of a release. And a wider release definitely helps, especially in the overseas markets.

Knowing the risks of overcrowding, Mr Kapur and Mr Johar had taken a decision not to release their film along with Akshay Kumar starrer, De Dana Dan and moved their release from November 27 to November 20. “Now, we have a clean week for one, which in today’s day and age of cluttered releases is a huge bonus, especially since De Dana Dan is also a big film. Kurbaan, also, has huge potential to appeal across multiplexes, single screens and overseas audiences; so putting in that 20% extra cost for a wider release made economic sense,” says Mr Kapur.

So far, among Mr Kapur’s widest releases has been Race, which they distributed with 1,400 screens of which 1,100 was in India. The movie saw a first weekend collection of Rs 34 crore (gross India). Their home production, Jodhaa Akbar, which they released with 1,200 screens of which 900 were in India, collected Rs 25 crore (gross India). As for this love story, it’s definitely a race to the finish.

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