Nothing succeeds like ‘100 crore’

Reliance head honcho Sanjeev Lamba summed up the nature of the beast rather succinctly when he said, "As the name suggests, Showbusiness is as much about the business as it is about the show."

Ever since the Lumière brothers discovered the magic of moving images, in 1895, films have evolved into a complex compound of imagination, technology and enterprise. Entertaining millions on one hand and generating livelihood and more for several thousands. One can safely say, movies both in India and around the world have leaned heavily on commerce for survival. To imagine it otherwise would be a fallacy. The petering out of art cinema of the 1980s due to lacklustre box office collections and its subsequent revival as middle-of-the-road cinema with the advent of multiplexes is an example of commerce-driven creativity.

It is against the backdrop of the box-office that one must examine the much talked about 100 crore club phenomena that has emerged perhaps over the last five years or so.

In classic Bollywood box-office success was a film celebrating a "jubilee" at the cinemas, followed by the "100-day" triumph. But, as economic liberalisation reared its head, longevity at the cinemas was no longer the measure of a good or a successful film. Increasingly, weekend collections were reasons for weekday success parties. But soon the industry got even more restless to declare its triumph at the turnstiles, and "Opening day collections" became the norm. Finally, the flirtation with euphemisms is over, economics is out of the closet and what better way than to boldly put out a magical number for everyone to aspire to — Rs 100 crore.

Aamir Khan was the first to reach the magic number with Ghajini which he then topped with 3 Idiots that went on to net a whopping Rs 200-plus crore although this magic number was reached over a couple of months since the film held tremendous repeat value. In fact, the perfectionist Khan has now upped the ante and, in his recent interview with Screen, said that Rs 100 crore was big five years ago and that an A-list project should now be counted as successful only if it can manage a business of Rs 200 crore!

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