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July 23, 1999
Mann Leaves America Cold
Arthur J Pais in New York
One of the most lavishly promoted desi films, Mann, has played far below expectation in most of the 25 theatres showing it in America.
Despite Aamir Khan's appearance at several movie houses in New York and New Jersey, and extensive coverage in the ethnic media, the movie just could not ignite the box-office. Given the rousing box-office reception to Khan's Sarfarosh and the name of Yash Raj Films attached to it, Mann was expected to be a big hit.
It reportedly took about $ 175,000 in the first week, with a 30% decline in the second week. It could linger for two more weeks, theatre owners say, adding that moviegoers' attention is now focused on Hindustan Ki Kasam and Taal.
Yash Raj Films has not released the box-office figures for Mann in North America. In England, the movie has done far better, grossing about $ 210,000 in the first week, and declining moderately in the second week.
Mann is the third film released by Yash Raj Films in North America, following superhits Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, which grossed about $ 1.5 million, and Dil To Pagal Hai, which made about $ 800,000.
Mann was expected to gross about $ 750,000, if not a million. But trade sources now believe it could exit with just about $ 400,000. Yash Raj Films owns the distribution rights for the film outside India.
The movie had plenty going for it -- melodrama, hot music, and apart from Aamir Khan, the presence of Anil Kapoor and Rani Mukherjee. And it was released after the cricket madness was over. It had hardly any opposition. Though Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam is still drawing crowds, it is on its last legs. An unexpected hit, Hum Dil... has grossed more than $ 1.2 million in North America.
"Now we know why many of us in the movie business believe that only death and taxes are permanent and predictable," says film-maker and box-office commentator Gitesh Pandya.
Tickets for the shows at which Aamir Khan made an appearance were priced at $ 10, a 50% increase in many cases, and yet the houses were nearly full. But the enthusiasm at those events was not contagious.
"Guess what, the audiences wanted Aamir to sing Aati kya Khandala", says Pallu Shah, who liked Mann. "I should have known then that something was not going well with this film. True, Aamir has not sung any song in Mann, but somebody could have asked him to hum a few lines."
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