'Department' has turned out to be a major flop show at the box office. The film didn't take a respectable opening, didn't find favour from the critics, had hardly any audience walking in to spread any word of mouth and with the film's lead actor (Sanjay Dutt) and director (Ram Gopal Varma) accusing each other of spoiling the final product soon after the release, there was no hope left for any revival whatsoever. Result? A film which adds on to the big budget disappointments of the year after 'Players', 'Agent Vinod' and 'Tezz'. Incidentally each of these belongs to action-drama genre.
As film stands today, it would collect lowest collections amongst them all with it's final tally being less than that of even 'Tezz' (which is ending at near 16 crore mark). 'Department' collected a mere 7.5 crores in its opening weekend with merely 20%-30% footfalls. With a huge print count to its name, this was also the widest ever for Ram Gopal Varma.
Coming to the merits of the film, it was always going to be an experimental affair but then to be fair, it did have it's moments. The twists and turns in the tale did manage to surprise while performances, especially by Rana Daggubati, were fair to good. However at the end of it all all blame fell on technology and that too a fortnight before the release instead of the D-day which means the axe fell on Ram Gopal Varma even before the final product came on screen. Since other than Rana there was no one else talking about the film before it's release, the word spread on the street that no one was supporting Ramu.
Resultantly, there were no footfalls and with none of the promotional pegs further helping the film in any ways (as mentioned in this very column last week), the film was always doomed.
Another film which was doomed even before it's release was Anupam Kher's much delayed 'Mr. Bhatti On Chutti'. With hardly any shows across the country, the film wasn't even reviewed by most and had collections reading in thousands, leave aside lakhs. A disaster.
Watch 'Department' - Public Review