Bollywood's costliest movie ever has topped box office records for Indian films overseas but is not enjoying quite the same success at home, according to film analysts and critics.
"Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum" ("Sometimes Joy Sometimes Sorrow"), or K3G as it is popularly known, is earning below expectations in the key cities of Bombay and New Delhi after a promising start following its release December 14, they said.
"The movie is definitely an earner, but is not a long-runner. It is, however, emerging as the biggest Indian grosser overseas," said Komal Nahta, editor of the magazine Film Information.
The 400 million rupee (8.3 million dollar) production made it to number three in the British film charts in its first week, the highest position an Indian movie has ever reached in the mainstream British top ten, and earned 450,000 pounds (647,000 dollars) in the weekend ending December 16.
The film is projected to gross a record two million pounds in Britain, the film's British distributor was quoted as saying.
K3G revolves around the story of two brothers, superstar Shahrukh Khan and heartthrob Hrithik Roshan, separated by their no-nonsense aristocratic and autocratic father, played by screen icon Amitabh Bachchan.
Bachchan, known as the "Big B," dominated the film industry here for two decades and is widely seen as the biggest star in Indian movie history.
Trade analysts said K3G was a sell-out in the five days following its release in all 100 theatres in Bombay and 22 in New Delhi where it was shown.
After that, however, cinemas have been around 90 percent full, said Johnny Vaz, a film writer with Trade Guide.
"Let's get it straight that in no way is the movie a flop. It's just that with such a powerful starcast, one tends to have great expectations, which are unlikely to meet on all the counts," Vaz said.
The Indian film industry has been hoping for a strong performance from K3G, as 2001 saw only two megahits -- "Lagaan" and "Gadar" -- and around 100 flops.
As well as established markets among the large South Asian communities in countries such as Britain and the United States, demand for mainstream Hindi films is growing in China and Japan.
Some 800 films are made in Bollywood each year -- more than are produced by Hollywood -- with most offering a unique combination of song, dance and melodrama.
Vinod Mirani of the film magazine Box Office cautioned not to read too much into K3G's first week.
"One should remember that the number of K3G prints released are more than double than that of 'Lagaan' or 'Gadar.' K3G has released over 700 prints, while Gadar had around 300 prints. So obviously, percentage-wise collections will fall, but collection-wise it will do wonders to everyone."
He said the Christmas holiday could also give the movie another boost with more schoolchildren and others heading to the cinema -- AFP
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