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The Kinng can do no wrong

July 30, 2008 11:24 IST

Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif in a still from Singh is Kinng.

Things could not have looked better for film producer Vipul Shah. His latest production, Singh is Kinng [Images], is all set to hit the screens on August 8 amid unprecedented viewer interest.

"I should have patented the title of my film. After all, the media used the title Singh is King when the Manmohan Singh-led government won the confidence vote recently," he quips.

He has other reasons to feel happy. Some 2,000 prints of the film are ready to be shipped. The film cost him Rs 55 crore. Another 10 per cent was spent on marketing.

Trade analysts say there is no way Shah can lose money on this venture. The music rights of the film were sold to Junglee Music (an arm of Times Music) for Rs 13.5 crore, the highest-ever in the Indian film industry.

The music of the film, says Shah, is a big hit already. In less than a month 500,000 albums have been sold. The music is by Pritam, one of the most bankable (even if controversial) music directors in the industry today.

Rapper Snoop Dogg and AkshayThe film, directed by Anees Bazmee, brings together the formidable onscreen pair of Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif. Though advance booking for the film is yet to open in theatres and multiplexes, reports suggest that a single-screen hall in Nagpur, Smruti Cinema, began advance booking for Singh is Kinng three weeks ago.

"The feedback from exhibitors is that bulk-booking queries are pouring in," says Sandeep Bhargav, CEO, Indian Films, which acquired the worldwide rights for distribution of Singh is Kinng even before shooting began.

"We are taking the film to territories like Russia [Images], Spain and Belarus," adds Bhargava. According to him, 275 prints have been kept aside for overseas territories, while 2,000 prints have been reserved for Indian territories.

The biggest reason why the film should be successful is Akshay Kumar [Images]. He has given hit films consistently and is now anchoring a popular reality programme on television called Khatron ke Khiladi [Images]. In fact, it was he who suggested the title after seeing it on the back of a truck.

One of the highest-paid actors in Bollywood (he charges close to Rs 20 crore per film), his pairing with Shah and Bazmee has paid off handsomely in the past. While Namaste London [Images], a Rs 25-crore film, has collected Rs 110 crore so far, Welcome, made at a budget of Rs 30 crore, collected Rs 130 crore.

Waqt, Shah's second film with Akshay Kumar, garnered Rs 4 crore in the overseas market alone, while collecting Rs 7.5 crore from just the Mumbai territory.

Shah says: "Both Katrina and Akshay Kumar have grown as one of the best onscreen pairs in our industry. People say that they're like Shah Rukh Khan [Images] and Kajol [Images], another bankable onscreen pair."

Katrina is now one of the highest-paid actresses in the industry. It is learnt that Akshay Kumar did not charge his full fee for Singh is Kinng.

Bhargava adds: "We know that Anees, Vipul, Akshay Kumar and Katrina have worked well in different films. This time around, they've projected Akshay differently."

By the looks of it, Singh is Kinng looks like a winner already. How far the buzz translates into a great opening, we'll find out soon.

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