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The Numbers Game

I am not at all good with numbers. I remember during the release of Kismat Connection, Aziz Sir’s son Harun use to tell me that the film has opened well and would quote some figures. And I used to wonder, when so many people are watching the film then how come the collection is so less? I really had no clue what the right ball park figures were.

Today, I am much better. Do you know the reason why? Because I read Box Office India! However, I am still not totally clued in to the extent that I would know how much entertainment tax is imposed or what the break-up of the ticket cost is. And while I do try and keep a tab on how well my film is doing, I am not necessarily interested in finding out how much business the film is doing in which territory or overseas.

I remember after Ishqiya, industry people called me and they said that I have become a hero and my film has got a big opening! So that was the first time when I had heard so much about the opening of one of my films. I think it was during Ghajini that I had seen these posters, which said so much business in so many hours. And I was like what does this mean? Slowly I got the knack of understanding how all this works

.These days it is about first day, first weekend, first week then second weekend though second week is rare but it’s interesting. Slowly, I am learning. But I am not worried about it. People used to send me text messages how much business my film did and then one day I read in the papers saying that The Dirty Picture has crossed 120 crore gross. I was surprised and I didn’t even know that my film had crossed 100 crore! People were saying that it’s your own film and you don’t know. I can just say that I am not a numbers person. I really don’t know the nitty-gritty’s of the difference between gross and nett collections. I can’t get around with calculations in any area.

The audience today has become smart and has an idea about a film’s opening. I have had people telling me that your film has got a good opening and they understand as the communication is reaching people. I am sure I will take more interest going forward. But it’s not something that I am passionate about very honestly. But I know it is important. Especially for the kind of films that I do, producers often tell me, ‘We have to make a film in this much budget, in so many days, and if we do that, this is what we hope to make.’ So slowly these things are getting around my head.

Interestingly, these days even the general public beyond the industry is becoming more and more aware and interested about collection figures. So if a common man can be aware of it, then we being in the industry need to know as well.

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