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Kaminey making a killing overseas

By Arthur J Pais
August 19, 2009 10:30 IST
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Exceeding the expectations of the distributors and exhibitors, the Vishal Bhardwaj-directed Kaminey grossed nearly $7 million worldwide including Pakistan in its three days of release, though its release in Mumbai was delayed by a few days because of the swine flu threat. There are hopes that Kaminey could become the second highest grossing Bollywood film so far this year after Love Aaj Kal.

"The numbers could have been a few notch higher had the film opened in Mumbai on August 14," said Lokesh Dhar, the vice-president of  UTV Motion Pictures (USA). "Usually Mumbai shows the way in deciding a film's fate but here the city had to wait for the film for several days. Meanwhile, the buzz Kaminey had created elsewhere was reaching the city with the people becoming even hungrier to see it."

"As it is the film is a blast," he added. "It is nice to see a film getting excellent reviews turning into a box-office hit."

Prime-time shows for the film in major cities such as New York, Chicago, Toronto, San Francisco and Los Angles went full throughout the weekend, according to producer and distributor UTV.

The huge opening for Kaminey and the lingering support for the hit Love Aaj Kal delivered a fatal blow to the Govinda starring comedy Life Partner that made less than $100,000 on both sides of the Atlantic.

Some people may wonder why Life Partner went against Kaminey, a distributor said. But distributors believe they have no choice in releasing their smaller films the same week as big budget glossy films are released. There is a bottleneck because of the long hiatus caused by the conflict between the producers and exhibitors in India.

Kaminey, which reportedly cost $8 million, grossed a hefty $726,834 in 82 location in America and Canada. It was less than stellar in the United Kingdom where it made $183,000 in three days. It lost quite a bit of steam in that territory because of the mandatory 15-plus certificates that limited family audience's support for the movie. But in the UAE it grossed an impressive $413,000 and in Pakistan, a healthy $100,000.

UTV says that the film is doing steady business in the weekdays, especially in the United Kingdom.

The film has performed as if is a star-driven vehicle and Shahid Kapoor has suddenly jumped into the A list artists. Even though Priyanka Chopra has a meaty role in the film, it is far smaller compared to that of Shahid who plays twins with the opposing temperaments.

In New York-New Jersey area viewers were heard telling their friends not to miss the film.

"It is amazing to see India making a sophisticated thrillers," said one grad student. An elderly man said he was going to recommend the film to his friends. "I liked Omkara but it was too dark and depressing," he said. "This film has dark moments too but on the whole, it is a film that thrills and uplifts you.".

A businessman echoed his thoughts. "It is very difficult to categorise this film," he said. "To call it a mere thriller does not do it justice. But seeing it the second time makes a lot of sense. It is a very entertaining but complex film.'

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Arthur J Pais