Archive for July 24, 2010

Will Udaan survive ? Will it manage to fly ? Cannes is great, and that too after so many years, but,  can We, The (Dumb) People, give the film its due ?  Will the bitch called box office be on our side for a change ? And how many bums does it require to get that elusive “hit” tag ?  Do we count ? And if we do, how much ? Since the time we saw the film, all of us had the same questions and doubts but nobody knew the answers. Only one thing was common – we all LOVED the film.

By now, am sure lot many have seen Udaan.  Its easily one of the best rated films of the year so far. So, it seems some people out there are writing good scripts, making uncompromised films too, though far and few in between, but have we been able to crack the “budget” ? And  even after doing so, how will the film reach the theatre ? And if it does so, will it manage to get those valuable bums who turn “shit” into “hit” ? Aah life. Ooh cinema! So, here it is all……after the art & craft of cinema…the arithematics of Udaan….. by someone who has been there, done that and seen it all.  Anurag Kashyap. Am sure, he doesnt need any introduction. And if he does, you are on the wrong page. Read on….

Udaan has finally been declared a success. It was the only film amongst others in the week which garnered the same box-office on Monday to Thursday, as it did on the first weekend.

Faith, in the end, has won.

There was no-way a film like Udaan could have got this kind of a release. Amidst the speculations and accusations on Twitter and Facebook that the marketing of Udaan was bad, it has survived.

Well, Udaan was not an easy film to sell. We racked our brains on it, Shikha and her team at UTV, Vikram, all of us tried coming up with every idea we could to sell it. Most of them had nothing to do with the film, so were rejected. The pressure on the team was so much, because of what they did with Dev.D. But the idea was not to do anything that would give the wrong perception of Udaan.

We also wanted to release the film the way it was cut. For once we had a film that everyone thought was poetic and had its own pace. All those decisions became a big no no for exhibitors. No one wanted to give many shows to Udaan, because the film smelled strange.

Hard negotiations followed. Gaurav from UTV armed with biggies like “Thank You” and “Tees Maar Khan” negotiated with theatre owners, got us two to three shows.

UTV similarily negotiated the TV rights. Who knew the fate of Udaan, but we had faith on good old word of mouth. In the second week, our number of shows have reduced to one or two shows but on Friday night in some theatres, it  was packed yesterday.

Here is hoping it continues its silent march through the theatres. For all the people screaming bad marketing, the truth is we just did’nt have the budget, we had to make do with what we had.

The fact is Udaan could very well have been “Firaaq“. A good film that got lost. But it isn’t. Today we sold our TV rights for 3.5 crores, film is released on Warner’s VOD , which has access to 20 million homes in the US. The same site where most of the indies and international arthouse films are releasing in the US today. Disney has got the homevideo rights for around 75lakhs (Plus T-Series has the music rights). And our first week net is 2.5 cr. It makes us profitable by around 25% of the investment and makes a film like Udaan a viability in the future.

If the film continues like this and just the box office starts to show us that so far elusive ‘Profit Margin”.. we are here to stay.

Today, I can say, after seeing him struggle with the industry, the market, himself and fate.. that Vikramaditya Motwane has truly arrived, and thank you Sanjay Singh and UTV for that.

Pic Courtesy – Making Of Udaan

PS – If you can read hindi, click here and read the post by Mihir Pandya…a different perspective and one of the best pieces on Udaan.