He continues to avoid the media but AdityaChopra’s work seems to do all the talking. His latest directorial venture, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, with superstar Shahrukh Khan and newcomer Anoushka Sharma, may still be under the critics’ scanners, but as far as numbers are concerned, it is the biggest film of 2008. Yes, Ghajini’s already giving Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi stiff competition, especially after having collected Rs 7 crore on the very first day of its release.
However, Chopra’s film, which released on December 12, 2008, broke the dry run of most films in 2008 to emerge as a clear winner. Released with 1,200 prints, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’s gross collection for the first weekend was Rs 70 crore. At the end of the first week, the film had collected Rs 90 crore. Its second weekend collection stood at Rs 30 crore (gross) and close to Ghajini’s release, and at the end of its second week, it has added another Rs 24 crore. So, the gross figures for the first 10 days was Rs 120 crore.
The Yash Raj banner, in recent times, has had to reckon with a spate of flops. Tashan, the first film to release through the banner in April 2008, was a huge flop, Kunal Kohli’s Thoda Pyar Thoda Magic, starring Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukherjee that released in June, was another disaster. If that wasn’t enough, the much-talked about partnership of Yash Raj Films with Walt Disney, to direct and produce an animation film was given thumbs down by audiences, who rejected Roadside Romeo.
Chopra, according to sources, had foreseen the disaster that Tashan was headed for. To salvage whatever he could, a lot of editing and reshooting of scenes was also done. It seems he wasn’t too happy with the outcome of Thoda Pyar Thoda Magic before it hit the screens too. The pressures for Chopra, who had consciously opted out of direction after Mohabattein in 2000 to create a unique production house, were mounting and that is why in February 2008 he decided to take on direction once again.
What Chopra had been doing all this time was to consolidate a bank of creative people including writers (Jaideep Sahni), directors (Kunal Kohli, Shaad Ali, Siddharth Anand) and even music directors (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Salim-Sulaiman) who would create films solely for the banner for a period of three to five years. While the model resulted in some success, the banner’s films started losing their sheen.
Chopra realised that he needed to impress the audiences and relied on writing the story, screenplay and dialogues on his own too. After eight long years, Chopra also realised that he needed to rely on someone who could guarantee him audiences into theatres. Shahrukh Khan, then, was obviously the most natural choice. The shooting for the film began at a start-to-finish schedule in May 2008 with Chopra keen to release the film during the festive season.
The lead stars’ praiseworthy performance notwithstanding, many have questioned the running time of the film. Even the plot of the film has come under scrutiny. While critics may have issues with the film, Chopra clearly has had the last laugh. He knows the pulse of his audiences and he knows exactly what they want. And with Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, he seems to have given the audience a treat. Meanwhile, at Yash Raj’s studio in Mumbai, everyone is grinning. It’s no recession there, thanks to Chopra and his craft.