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Main Hoon Na: House full in US, UK!

By Arthur J Pais
May 05, 2004 15:39 IST
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Sushmita Sen and Shah Rukh Khan in Main Hoon NaThe first blockbuster of the year abroad Main Hoon Na enjoyed several full-house shows in North America and Britain, grossing an estimated $1.3 million over the weekend on 120 screens.

Even as distributor Eros was compiling the total gross for Canada and America on Monday, it had become evident that the crowd pleaser had been getting repeat audiences. The film was released on 79 screens in North America, a record for a desi movie, says Lokesh Dhar at Eros, adding that next week it is adding five more screens.

"Usually we drop a few screens in the second week but the response for this film has been awesome," says Dhar.

The movie grossed about $704, 651 in North America with most shows on Saturday evening going full across the country. With a $9,000 per screen average it was reportedly the 15th highest grossing film in the country where Mean Girls led the box-office with a $24 million haul.

In England, Main Hoon Na was the 7th highest grossing film over the weekend, according to trade publications. It grossed about $600,000 on some 40 screens, and had the highest per screen average of $15,000 in the entire country. The highest grosser in England was Kill Bill Vol 2 which slayed to the tune of $2 million in its second weekend.

Main Hoon Na is yet another Shah Rukh Khan film since Mani Ratnam's Dil Se.. to open among the top 10 in England.

The movie set a record for a woman director (Farah Khan) in India. None of the desi women directors has come anywhere near the success of Main Hoon Na.   

In America, just as Main Hoon Na drew huge audiences, the Broadway musical Bombay Dreams which has choreography by Anthony Van Laast and Farah Khan was withstanding critical drubbing by some of the major newspapers including The New York Times.

"The show is a survivor," says associate producer Sudhir Vaishnav. He added that the producers had redesigned the ads. "We are having repeat audiences," says Vaishnav.

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Showcasing Main Hoon Na

The $14 million musical has some $6 million in advance and has been getting about 75 percent of the 1,760-seat Broadway Theatre full. Huge full-page advertisements for the show are going out next week with quotes from favourable reviews in Daily News, Variety, Entertainment Weekly and Newsday that have a combined circulation of about 3 million.

Even The New York Times had a few wonderful things to say about the choreography in the Shakalaka Baby song.

'A gorgeous, glamorous, feel-good fantasy,' wrote The Times. '"Delirious, divine madness that reaches dizzy, surreal heights.'

In London, the BBC assessed Farah Khan as a director and choreographer in a review, which dubbed Main Hoon Na a crowd pleaser. 'It's the sheer diversity of the soundtrack that keeps Main Hoon Na's 179 minutes light on their feet. Skipping from dance anthems to nostalgic love songs -- the soundtrack's a zinger,' reads the review.

'Directing the dance routines with a choreographer's eye, Khan uses the musical range to deliver some memorably original sequences, like the school prom beefed up by a 50s-style rock'n'roll band, or the chemistry lab sing-along that comes complete with exploding desks.'

A still from Main Hoon NaThe review singled out starlet Rakhi Sawant: 'And keep an eye out for supporting actress Rakhi Sawant (Masti) as the school's beauty queen. She may not have much of a part to work with, but the actress struts her stuff for all she's worth -- dancing everyone else off the screen. It's the naked ambition of a lass determined to see her name up in lights some time soon.'

If the movie does not go for a steep fall in the second week and sustains a 40 to 45 percent downtick, it could earn at least $2.8 million in North America and England. And that means the film is a super hit but it also means that it has to fight very hard to make more money than Kal Ho Na Ho that grossed about $4 million on both sides of the Atlantic just a few months ago.

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Arthur J Pais