Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara remains unsold, because its producers are strapping it with some dead stock — Is it ‘Game’ over?

Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; August 12, 2010)

Ritesh Siddhwani and Farhan Akhtar’s Excel Entertainment is playing a dirty double game, which has the industry rather baffled.

Excel Entertainment is insistent that film corporates buy Hrithik-Katrina starrer Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Abhishek-Kangna starrer Game as a twin package deal.

Worse still, Siddhwani is demanding Rs 100 crore (approximately) for the same. The unjustified hubris is proving costly – both Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Game are still unsold.

Mumbai Mirror learns that two leading corporate houses have heard out Siddhwani and not got back to him as yet.

On the sets of the film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

Says a source, “Both Hrithik and Abhishek’s last film – Kites and Raavan- were turkeys. The buyer Reliance lost tons of money. The corporates are a bit wary about taking on their next films at unreasonable prices.”

An insider from a leading corporate (name withheld by request) said, “Yes. This is true. Ritesh did come to us with a twin deal of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Game. Game did not excite us as a business proposition. We are not likely to discuss this with him any further.”

A senior official from PVR (yet another corporate on whose door Sidhwani knocked) was frank and forthcoming. On request of anonymity, he said that Excel Entertainment has approached them with a twin deal on the above-mentioned two films.

“We need multiple rounds of discussions on this before we come to a decision. It’s a huge high-value acquisition, which can’t happen overnight. We are going to scan the entire deal before we take any decision,” said the official.

But yes, the asking rate (in the twin deal in question) is definitely high. It is left to us whether to pay that much or not. Think of it, there are very few people left who can buy films for huge amounts. Hrithik’s trajectory is not good. Abhishek’s trajectory is not great either.”

Come to think of it, Farhan Akhtar’s trajectory is no better, given his last two films in his avatar as an actor, Karthik Calling Karthik and Luck By Chance, proved to be box-office duds. Don 2, his directorial next, is itself the sequel to a not-so-successful Shah Rukh starrer.

“We are not going to make acquisitions of Rs 100 crore without looking at all this. We definitely have business sense. We have a board, which governs our entire plans. The days of Kites and Raavan are all over,” added the official. When contacted, Siddhwani chose not to respond.

Farhan Akhtar (l) and Ritesh Siddhwani
(yogen Shah)

At the time of going to press, Siddhwani’s spokesperson sent an SMS that read, “The deal is already closed and it is for three films, not two. We can’t give you the details now.”

Sounds like a watered-down deal.

Seems like Siddhwani has come up with a more reasonable sum (and tack) for his two flicks, because, as awkward as the moniker of his latest venture goes, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara…