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January 20, 2000
Pyar Mein Sauda Nahin: Hrithik and Amisha will have to live on pure love
New Bollywood films continue to face unenthusiastic audiences in North America. The third new film released this year, Rakesh Roshan's Kaho Naa Pyar Hai, failed to ignite excitement in desi movie theaters in the US and Canada.
For Roshan and his young new stars -- son Hrithik and Amisha Patel -- this news must be all the more disappointing, since Kaho Naa is reportedly doing fairly decent business in the UK and in India. Critics in general have praised the film's charming young stars, its light romantic mood, the songs and the appealing outdoor locations.
According to Vaibhav Rajput, a spokesperson for the film's distributor Yash Raj Films, Kaho Naa grossed a mere $ 30,000 in the opening weekend -- Friday, January 14 to Sunday, January 16. Yash Raj Films had opened Kaho Naa on 15 screens in what was described by Rajput as a "limited release."
The Hollywood trade publication Daily Variety did not report the box office figures for Kaho Naa. However, the film would not have figured in Variety's top 60 list for the last weekend. The last film on the weekend's top 60 list, Sunshine, a small art-house production, grossed approximately $ 14,000 more than Kaho Naa.
Rajput, however did not seem surprised by Kaho Naa's weak performance in North America.
"Our expectations were limited," he told rediff.com "We really weren't sure if a new cast would draw a lot of audiences."
Last year Yash Raj Films went without a single hit. Mann and Godmother were non-runners.
Rajput added that the prior weekend had seen two new releases -- Dharmesh Darshan's Mela and T Rama Rao's Bulandi, making the competition tough for Kaho Naa. Both Bulandi and Mela opened on 29 screens on January 7. The two films continued to play on the same number of screens for the second week.
For the second week Rajput said he was planning to book Kaho Naa at approximately 10 smaller theaters in suburban towns. In its second week, Kaho Naa will face even tougher competition, when the long-awaited Shah Rukh Khan-Juhi Chawla starrer -- Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani is released by Eros Entertainment on 60 screens..
According to one estimate, there are approximately 70 screens dedicated to first-run Bollywood films in North America and Eros Entertainment plans to captures practically every theater for Phir Bhi.
For Khan, Chawla, the film's director Aziz Mirza and their new company Dreamz Unlimited there is a lot banking on Phir Bhi. However, with the huge publicity surrounding the film's release and its hit soundtrack, Phir Bhi should draw in large crowds in its opening weekend.
Meanwhile, in its second week of release, both Bulundi and Mela crossed the $ 200,000 mark, but were sinking fast. Each film saw an attrition of about 50 per cent.
Released by Eros Entertainment, Mela grossed $ 62,000 in the second weekend of its release and was ranked 51st in Daily Variety's top 60 listing. In the 11 days, since its opening Mela had earned $ 221,000.
Video Sound's Bulandi's gross receipts were $ 51,000 for the second weekend and $ 204,000 in the 11 days since the film's release on January 7.
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