Despite all the brouhaha around the word 'Barber' being dropped from the title, three item songs from top heroines (Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone), Shahrukh Khan making headlines with his press conferences followed by his surgery, India's costliest director (Priyadarshan) at the helm of affairs and a huge release, Billu has been given a cold shoulder by the audience. The film has managed to do a barely face saving business at the box office and is hardly finding an audience for itself as it enters it's second week.
While the first week's collections read 18 crores from India, it isn't really flattering considering a huge release and the heavy price that it comes with. Moreover, though it was obvious that the film's main lead was Irrfan Khan and not Shahrukh Khan, there were still expectations that the superstar's name itself would manage to bring in a decent chunk of audience.
However, as seemed to be the case before the release of the film itself, the film faltered in it's promotion. Last minute media hype failed to create curiosity around the film in itself and while Shahrukh Khan got quite some mileage for himself, the plan backfired as the film didn't create a similar impact. Result? After a decent inflow of audience over the first weekend, the film only went downhill with every passing day.
If one looks at it, that's permissible as well considering most of the films fail to attract much audience over the weekdays and actually do their maximum business over the weekends. However, in case of Billu, the word of mouth was clearly missing and more than being considered good or bad, it was just sheer indifference around the film that affected it most. There weren't many who were curious to watch Billu on the big screen and though the DVD sales could turn out to be encouraging considering movies of this genre generally perform well in the home video circuits, as for the theatrical business, it seems on a constant decline.
As for the other films that released alongside Billu i.e. Jugaad and The Stoneman Murders, they were complete non-starters. While the latter at least got some good reviews coming it's way (but hardly any moolah), the former was an absolute washout with it being hardly in the running after the first weekend. Both the films have only contributed to the heavy tally of flops that Bollywood has been witnessing in a pathetic 2009 so far.
The only film which has managed to keep it's head high in all this mayhem is Dev D which got some good audience for itself in the second week as well. The film didn't crash per se, as some trade experts were 'hoping', and did attract it's target audience - youth - in the second week as well. A clear 'Above Average' success at the least, this medium budget film has managed to net close to 12 crores and is all set to touch the 15 crores mark in the long run, hence making it the highest earning Abhay Deol film ever.