The arithematics of Vikramaditya Motwane’s Udaan – Anurag Kashyap dissects it for us!

Posted: July 24, 2010 by moifightclub in bollywood, cast & crew, cinema, film, Thoughts, Xclusive
Tags: , , , ,

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.

  1. Sukhada says:


    This is such an amazing article..
    totally heartening 🙂

    Thank you AK 😀

  2. mogambo says:

    Amazing. i almost welled up.

  3. kennydb says:

    Udaan’s running second week everywhere. When I saw it it was about 75% full. I told my cousins in Guwahati to watch. Their 11AM show was half full. And I just saw a facebook status update where someone didn’t get tickets for a Fame Malad show ’cause it was houseful.

  4. Indraneel says:

    It will generate another 1.2 CR in the 2nd week and thats a foregone conclusion. It shall also get another lease of life on DTH and Home Video whenever that happens. In all, the movie looks like raking in over 10 CR. If it crosses 12 CR and that is not an impossibility, it shall be termed a superhit. So, moral of the story – content rules, everytime!

  5. d'jango says:

    3.5 crore sounds like a very high price for TV rights. Was it sold as a package along with Thank You & Tees Maar Khan?

  6. Pavan Jha says:

    Superb News! I believe, it can even do better.. even from now on! What is the report from Small Centers?

  7. scriptlarva says:

    It is nice to see a movie made with conviction and courage becoming a hit. We all love to see ‘ the underdog’ win. Hopes that this will help in its own way to end the stigma of new ideas in Bollywood.

  8. Anurag Kashyap says:

    3.5 just udaan to colors.. compare that to 3.75 for tere bin laden to star and 35 for 3 idiots..
    tv rights are selling high if the film garners repeat value..
    btw aamir sold peepli live for 8(market rumours)

  9. Anurag Kashyap says:

    Warner’s VOD revenues when generated are yet to be counted.. revenues from overseas not yet known..

  10. moifightclub says:

    @AK – do u have the link to warner’s vod ? someone asked on twitter..was trying to locate, cud not get it. whenever u have, do post it.

    @Pavan – if m not wrong, small centers distributors don’t want to try stars hai na sex!

  11. d'jango says:

    Good to know that the TV market is hot again!

    I think, Udaan’s small release may actually have helped it – my friends excitedly kept telling me about the packed houses they encountered. While, a bigger release may make the exhibitors more money, higher occupancy gives a film street cred and buzz – which is critical in informing TV & Home Video viewership.

    Anurag – can you share the COP & publicity budget of the film?

  12. Kuldip says:

    Great to know this.
    Congrats Vikram, Anurag and the team.
    3.5 for TV rights is a nice deal I think.
    It would collect more in the coming week.

    Any Europe side figures? Cannes label should help there no?

  13. nitesh singh says:

    glad to hear some good news..i really want and wish that udaan get the success it deserved,and yeah 3.5 sounds cool…plus the home video rights n all..
    congrats Anurag,Vikram and the whole team …many more milestones to be achieved…keep goin!
    though i still believe UTV could have marketed it more efficiently !

  14. Anurag Kashyap says:

    cost of production is 3.05 and print and publicity was around 2.0

  15. Anurag Kashyap says:

    mostly it released in digital theatres.. prints only for smaller centres..

  16. Anurag Kashyap says:

    warner VOD is only in US.. direct to home..

  17. Mohit Chadda says:


  18. We, the people of Kerala are all waiting to watch UDAAN. Its not even playing in a single theater over here. Please release it soon.

  19. PS says:

    I haven’t seen it yet, it’s not even there online ( Don’t get me wrong-I’m all for spending $20 for a movie but it’s not released any where nearby)

    So happy to see that Udan is profitable venture for you guys. more power to you.

  20. madhurranjan says:

    Excellent Movie!! As you said it had its own pace but was totally enjoyable. When Rajat hits Ronit Roy at the end, people in the theater started clapping which doesn’t happen in every movie. Kudos to you and your team.

  21. ashann says:

    jst loved ur film….keep it up i really want and wish that udaan get the success it deserved…gr8 performances….!

  22. moiz says:

    Congrats AK!

  23. miHir says:

    I myself had doubts about that elusive thing called ‘Box office’. How will BO respond to a film like ‘Udaan’? Which, rightly put by moi a ‘na stars hai na sex’ film for theater owners. I was worried after I saw that ‘Udaan’ got so less shows here in Delhi multiplexes on release last friday.

    And now I’m (all of us) so happy to know that Udaan is a ‘profit’ film for their makers. It will give them a lot of strength and power for the future, which they rightly deserve.

    Three cheers to Udaan. The most truthful film of our times.

  24. Anish Mirani says:

    Boss.. I can’t find Udaan anywhere on the TimeWarner VOD..dying to watch it.
    although i see Black Friday available here on VOD..

  25. […] The arithematics of Vikramaditya Motwane’s Udaan – Anurag Kashyap dissects it for us! Will Udaan survive ? Will it manage to fly ? Cannes is great, and that too after so many years, but,  can We, The […] […]

  26. Udaan definitely deserves to be much more profitable financially. Whoever seen the movie, loved it. The audience ( public) definitely likes a good movie like Udaan but problem lies somewhere in the middle of road. Unfortunately, theatre owners and distributers are not brave enough and a good movie rarely reaches to the audience because of insufficient marketing . Relying on word of mouth publicity is okay but even the number of mouths should be sufficient to spread a word.

    An aggressive, continuous and shameless marketing strategy is required to establish these ” Realistic Entertainers” as a brand. And it should happen not only at the time of release of a movie like Udaan but in all 365 days of a year.

    Can’t you notice how we read all faaltu news about the so called stars everyday in the newspapers ( Abhiash, Saifeena, Khan- war, break-ups, love affairs and all this shit) . This is nothing but a strategy to keep themselves fresh in the memories of audiences. I do not think that movies with stars gets hit because of stars. I believe that whenever people want to go out for some entertainment on some birthday, some anniversary or some romantic evening, movies with these stars are there in much more options and public has no option except watching them . Movie like Firaaq comes rarely in theaters and before audience knows about them, they are marked as financially unsuccessful and out from the cinema halls.

    Yesterday, I was watching the interviews of audience coming out from Akhay Kumar’s Khatta Meetha.Except one, all said shit things about the movie but still the house was packed. The movies is bad but still has done the financial trick. That is why a flopped big movie earns better than a small hit movie and that is why budget of publicity of a big movie Is much more than the budget of a small movie itself.

    Population of India is 120 crores or more and I am sure that there are many many who wants to see an Anurag Kashyap kind of cinema but problem is how to reach to them.

  27. Yashpal says:

    Also Udaan released on wrong day, I’m from Mysore and theater owners’ first choice were Inception,Lamhaa,Tere Bin Laden and Udaan in that order.. Since only 2-3 hindi/english theaters are here, Udaan didnt release.. i too saw in Bangalore, want to see it again, but cant go bangalore again.. waiting for DVD

  28. sanjay bhutiani says:

    Udaan deserves a lot more accolades and audience. Its a masterpiece !. More movie like this one. Very happy to hear that its making money for everyone. It should motivate more people to make movies like Udaan and invest in marketing them as well. Kudos to Anurag Kashyap and his team. The Director has a great future.

  29. hansalmehta says:

    Dear Anurag, Vikramaditya, Sanjay Singh, UTV and the team of Udaan,

    I am inspired. Like many others. More power to you. May the force be with you.


  30. Fatema says:

    Super excellent Anurag and Team Udaan! Super happy! And feeling quite vindicated! 😀 Keep it going!

  31. […] Udaan @Cannes Film Festival – The film which nobody was willing to back and was even rejected by UTV twice. Anurag decided to produce it himself and almost everyone branded it as a suicidal step. Na sex hai na star na Shah Rukh Khan! Well, the film still made it to the official selection of Cannes Film Festival and was one of the best rated films of the year.  Do watch it if you havent seen this gem yet! Whats more, it has even managed to recover its cost. […]

  32. Perx says:

    I think after the theatrical run is over, you guys should release it online on sites like dingora or youtube[ i think u can ask for a payment from users, but i’m not sure].. for people like me who couldn’t see it in theaters as it didn’t release in our small cities

  33. Sunil Sharma says:

    Better late than never. I came across this post a little to late. Its heartening to hear that this movie did a profitable business. Hopefully now the multiplex owners will not ignore and to an extent decide the fate of a movie. Its been a good year so far: ISHQIYA, LSD, UDAAN, TERE BIN LADEN.

    Tere Bin Laden is already on Star Plus,

    When will UDAAN be showcased on COLORS?

  34. Priyavand Bundela says:

    i have new story for you..

  35. […] at the figure of 650,000, at face value – that he does his maths right is evident from his piece on the mathematics of Udaan. But I’m wary about supporting this campaign for 650,000 tickets, […]

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