While the nation is locked in a situation of war-like tension, the movies seem to be doing quite well for themselves. After the January blockbuster Uri, February has thrown forward one more blockbuster Total Dhamal.
After the February triumph we March onward. The mood in the film trade is upbeat as this week’s two highly antithetical films get ready for a clash at the boxoffice. Abhishek Choubey whose earlier highly-acclaimed box office successes include Ishqiya, Dedh Ishiya and Udta Punjab has gone into the raw real world of Chambal dacoits in Sonchiriya. Every actor here from Ashutosh Rana to Bhumi Pednekar looks like the Bandit Queen’s kin. They all could do with a bath once they stop shooting. This could be that one knockout dacoit drama the Indian audiences have been waiting for.
Debutante director Laxman Utekar’s Luka Chuppi seems far less tense in tone. As the film’s leading man Kartik Aryan, eager to compound his hard-earned stardom after Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety says, it’s a light take on live-in relationships.
The debutant director Laxman Utekar has done the cinematography of some of the most remarkable looking films in recent years including the unreleased Nawazuddin Siddiqui gem Dekh Circus Dekh (directed by Mangesh Hadwale), Gauri Shinde’s English Vinglish and Saket Chaudhary’s Hindi Medium. Luka Chuppi promises to be Utekar ’s safe launch into the directorial orbit.
Trade analyst Girish Johar feels variety is the core of interest at the box office this week. “The two releases this week are in stark contrast to each other. Both cater to a different set of audiences and are being looked forward to by their respective target audiences. Luka Chuppi is toplining by Kartik Aryan who after the success of Sonu Ki Titu Ki Sweety, is on a high and is growing his fan base strongly and steadily. It also has Kriti Sanon who is a well-established actor as well after Bareilly Ki Barfi. The promotions suggest that it’s a desi romcom attracting the youth and families. The songs ...most of them are remixed from earlier versions have created decent buzz...but I feel a chartbuster song is missing, until now. It will also be the first choice this weekend and has good chances to lead the box office.”
Sonechiriya feels Johar, has its own robust appeal for the audience. “Sonechiriya has a plethora of actors Sushant Singh, Bhumi, Manoj Bajpayee, Ashutosh Rana, Ranveer Shourie and others. Its trailer was hugely talked-about and its sheer rawness and rusticity are the highlight of the film. Music is not that strong as films purely rest on the shoulders of its performances and hoping for good story telling by its director. It will start decent at the box office and has to rely on its good word of mouth. Backed by Ronnie Screwvala, this film has a strong undercurrent of box office success.”
Trade analyst Atul Mohan feels both the films have their merits to pull audiences in. “Both are looking good. Luka Chuppi is expected to have a flying start as it's targeted at the youth. Kartik's fan-base is swelling, the songs have become popular, smart marketing, successful makers. Sonchiriya, on the other hand, may have a slow start as compared to Luka Chuppi. But look at the team behind the film. The producers RSVP of Kedarnath and URI behind it. Director Abhishek Chaubey has been good with rustic village story telling like in Ishqiya and Dedh Ishqiya. It’s been a long time we had a dacoit film and this one looks raw and intense. And yes, we can have two successful films in one week. Both films have managed to generate good hype with good marketing strategies....now. All depends on how well the films are made.”
Trade pundit Amod Mehra feels the Chambal dialect on Sonchiriya may be a hurdle to its success. “Luka Chuppi has some star value and looks promising. On the other hand in Sonchiriya, the dialect will be a hindrance, also dacoit films have limited appeal.”