Who will break Shah Rukh Khan's record?

New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS) They say records are made to be broken. All eyes are set on big names like Amitabh Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan and Aamir Khan to surpass the new success parameter set by Shah Rukh Khan-starrer "Chennai Express" - which has earned a whopping Rs.156.70 crore ($25 million) in its first week.

Directed by Rohit Shetty, "Chennai Express", an approximately Rs.75 crore joint production venture of UTV Motion Pictures and Red Chillies Entertainment, released on the auspicious occasion of Eid, raced its way to success and has become the film to score Rs.100 crore fastest.

In fact, SRK, 47, who is relishing the success, believes that the no records matter, as they will be "equalled or bettered" in a few months.

If "Satyagraha" is coming out on Aug 30, the last quarter of the year will see the release of Ranbir's "Besharam", Hrithik's "Krrish 3" and Aamir's "Dhoom 3" - all much-awaited and much-talked about projects.

Although the budgets of the four films have not been revealed, an insider said that estimated expenditure on Prakash Jha's political thriller would be Rs.40 crore, while the budget of Abhinav Kashyap's funny drama could be over Rs.50 crore. Rakesh Roshan's high-on-special effects spectacle must have cost around Rs.90 crore.

The insider, however, refused to talk about the budget of Vijay Krishna Acharya's film, saying it is still in the making.

Many expected Akshay Kumar, known for giving maximum Rs.100 crore films, to break SRK's record with his gangster drama "Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbai Dobaara", which released close on the heels of "Chennai Express". But it neither dismantled SRK's film from the box office nor matched its success.

Amitabh leads the cast of "Satyagraha", which has Ajay Devgn, Arjun Rampal, Manoj Bajpayee, Kareena Kapoor and Amrita Rao. The movie has a lot of pre-release buzz, thanks to the storyline, apparently inspired by social activist Anna Hazare.

"Besharam" is scheduled for Oct 2 release, while "Krrish 3", set to come out Nov 4, is expected to cash in on the Diwali festival frenzy. And "Dhoom 3" will cap the year when it hits theatres on Christmas, a period that has always proven lucky for the "Ghajini" star.

Distributors, who are not allowed to watch the content before release, are playing blind and banking on these films to earn profit.

Anant Verma, director and business head of DT Cinemas, has high expectations from "Krrish 3" and "Dhoom 3" - both fresh instalments of two of Bollywood's most successful franchises.

"I am expecting 'Dhoom 3' and 'Krrish 3' to do very well as they can be watched by all kinds of people and age groups," Verma told IANS.

Other distributors are too hoping that these films make the festive season profitable.

"Hrithik's 'Krrish 3' should do well. 'Satyagraha' is also coming up with big stars; so I am expecting it to be a hit too," said Puneet Sahay of Spice Cinemas.

This is so because apart from being part of big banners, these films boast some of the biggest names in Bollywood Boulevard, which helps lure audience to the theatre.

Also, promotions play a vital catalyst in augmenting footfalls at the cinema halls.

"A combination of script and star power helps to pull audience to halls. As well as the promo-attractiveness during the campaign, which plays a huge part in the opening of the film. These make a significant contribution to a must-see versus a maybe-seen," said Rafiq Gangjee, Vice President (marketing and communications) of Yash Raj Films, which is producing "Dhoom 3".

In terms of response, there is already a lot of buzz around "Dhoom 3" mainly because it has Aamir and also because he is playing a villain in the action thriller.

On the other hand, the highlight of "Krrish 3" is Hrithik's donning the superhero costume again and its trailer has reportedly broken the record of Hollywood films "Avengers" (almost six million) and "Thor" (almost four million) by gathering 12 million views in just 10 days on YouTube!

"Besharam", which will see Ranbir teaming up with his actor-parents Neetu and Rishi Kapoor for the first time on the big screen, too is making waves on the digital platform.

The official trailer of "Besharam" shared by Reliance Entertainment on YouTube has received 8,652 likes and 6,914 dislikes so far, while another promo shared by T-Series on the same site has got 1,289 likes and 740 dislikes. This shows a positive trend and if the film works, it will be a double bonanza for Ranbir, who is basking in the success of "Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani".

Munish Sharma of Satyam Cinemas agrees that banners, actors and promotions help in the opening week collections, but feels ultimately, content rules. And this was true in the case of "Chennai Express".

"Banner, actors and how they are promoting the film help initial box office collections, but to sustain it, content is very important. Word of mouth is also important for any film post-release. If friends or relatives say good things about a film, people tend to watch it," he said.

"There have been films in the past that had newcomers, but managed to do well. For instance, 'Vicky Donor' had a fresh cast, but so was the subject," he added.

(Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at natalia.n@ians.in)

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