Mumbai’s Gaiety-Galaxy theatre, also known as G7 multiplex, is considered to be a barometer for Bollywood. If a film is working here and drawing crowds, then it means that it has been accepted by audiences all across the country. Sadly, this week’s big releases – Aamir Khan’s Laal Singh Chaddha and Akshay Kumar’s Raksha Bandhan – have failed to attract the desired crowd in this iconic single-screen theatre of Mumbai. The tickets are reasonably priced, at Rs. 130 and Rs. 160. Yet, the turnout is below the mark.
When Bollywood Hungama went through the bookings at this theatre on Saturday night (August 13), it found out that around 555 tickets were sold in the 1000-seater Gaiety theatre for Laal Singh Chaddha’s 9:45 pm show. It was also running in the 230-seater Gemini where around 85 tickets for the film were bought for the 9:15 pm show. Meanwhile, in Galaxy, which has around 800 seats, around 360 people turned up to watch the night show of Raksha Bandhan.
On an all-India level, Laal Singh Chaddha on day 1 collected Rs. 11.70 crores while on day 2, it collected Rs. 7.26 crores. The two-day total of the film stood at Rs. 18.96 crores. As for Raksha Bandhan, after collecting Rs. 8.20 crores on Thursday, August 11 and Rs. 6.40 crores on Friday, August 12, its two-day collections are Rs. 14.60 crores.
Bollywood Hungama spoke exclusively to Manoj Desai, executive director, G7 multiplex and Maratha Mandir Cinema. When asked if there’s any improvement in the collections of the film on Saturday, he said, “There’s no improvement whatsoever. I fail to understand what the public wants. Both films are of different genres and appeal to different kinds of audiences. And they star such big names. Yet, it’s not getting the desired footfalls.”
Manoj Desai sighed, “I feel theatres will shut at this rate. PVR and Inox have gone for a merger. When it comes to single screens, I am the only one holding the fort. Kab tak lad paaunga, mujhe pata nahin hai. Koi hit film aa hi nahi rahi hai. Neither the music, nor the dialogues are working among the audiences.”
Laal Singh Chaddha is playing in six shows in G7 – four shows in Gaiety, at 12:00 noon, 3:15 pm, 6:30 pm and 9:45, and 2 shows in Gemini, at 12:30 pm and 9:15. Raksha Bandhan meanwhile has also been allotted six shows – four in Galaxy, at 12:30 pm, 3:30 pm, 6:45 and 9:30 pm, and 2 shows in Gemini, at 4:00 pm and 6:45 pm. The decision to add the two shows in Gemini was taken just a day before release.
When asked what made him add two shows in Gemini when the four shows at 1000-seater Gaiety and 800-seater Galaxy were not getting full, he said, “There’s a reason for it. Humne alag–alag time pe dono films ke shows rakhe Gemini mein yeh soch ke ki shayad kuch log tab aa jaaye.”
Manoj Desai continued, “So you see, I am running 6 shows a day of the film. But pata nahi public ke dimaag mein kya baith gaya hai and why they are just not interested to see these movies.”