Nothing can be better for a filmmaker than his film, made with lot of effort, becoming a nationwide craze even before release. For Vidhu Vinod Chopra, the way his 1994 flick 1942: A Love Story emerged as a film that was on the wish list of one and all was nothing short of a godsend. In the previous two articles, we saw how much he had to struggle to complete the film and later, how he remained adamant in selling the film at the record price he asked for. In this third and final feature written as part of celebrations of Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s birthday, which falls today, Bollywood Hungama takes a look at the developments that happened once this period drama was out in cinemas. Sadly, the box office outcome wasn’t a positive one. But as one of Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s director Rajkumar Hirani has often said, a value of the film can’t be judged by the amount of money it made. Still, for documentation sake, here’s how 1942: A Love Story fared in cinemas.
1. Despite the initial hype and craze, 1942: A Love Story didn’t emerge as a commercial hit. In Mumbai, a strange situation occurred as the film did record business in Metro cinema with several shows being sold out in advance, even in the second week. But in other cinemas of Mumbai, tickets were easily available even in current.
2. The film got tax-free status in several states. In C P Berar, it was tax-exempted in the first week itself, on the fourth day (Monday July 16, 1994), while in Maharashtra, it got this benefit from second week onwards. In Gujarat too, it became tax-free in Week 2 but only in 70% of theatres. In Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, it was exempted from tax from week three and four onwards respectively. It also got the tax-free status in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh later on.
3. Despite the tax-free status in so many states, the film’s collections came down. The masses and lower class audience could not relate to the film and it was only the class audience that endorsed the film. Moreover, since the film was sold at a high price, it failed to recover despite the tax exemption.
4. Vidhu Vinod Chopra had gone to England to mix the film in Dolby stereo sound, making it the first ever Indian movie to be played in this sound system. Many theatres across the country installed the Dolby sound especially for this film. The producers even charged Rs. 10,000 extra for every Dolby stereo sound prints. Sadly, this much-hyped movie didn’t pay dividends. It was not up to the mark for many viewers. Director Sanjay Gupta was heard saying that the makers of 1942: A Love Story simply did only the mixing in Dolby sound, and that too not in proper density. Sanjay Gupta said that he learnt from this experience and that for his 1995 film Ram Shastra, he would not just mix but dub the entire film in Dolby sound.
5. Nevertheless, 1942: A Love Story still remains as a landmark film and continues to be remembered very fondly, notwithstanding its dismal box office performance. At the 40th Filmfare Awards, it won a record 9 awards, while Hum Aapke Hai Koun won just five. In the 64-year-long of history of Filmfare Awards, only 6 films have won more than 8 trophies and 1942: A Love Story is one of them. The songs especially have and will have a very large shelf life. Anil Kapoor initially was apprehensive about this film and to convince him, Vidhu Vinod Chopra played ‘Kuch Na Kaho‘ and ‘Ek Ladki Ko Dekha‘ for him. Anil was instantly sold upon hearing these melodious tracks and he thought that when he would be dead and gone, he would be definitely remembered through these songs, if not his work!