For the last 20 years since its first release in 1995, the Kannada film Om has had hundreds of re-releases. Believe it or not, it is yet to be shown on television and every time there is a theatre without a film, Om has filled in the blockbuster slot. Make no mistake, the Shiva Rajkumar-starrer has proved to be better than new releases on most occasions.
Last week OM was released at Gurushree theatre in Mandya. On the first three days, the film managed a a net box office collection of Rs 3.56 lakh. Distributor N Kumar says this is much more than collection of many new films from a single theatre. “The houseful collection for a show in Gurushree is Rs 56,000. So, the occupancy is so high,“ he said.
According to Kumar, OM is the highest screened film in the history of Sandalwood. He said, “In the history of Kannada films, no other film has been screened in as many screens or as many times. Every theatre in Karnataka that screens Kannada films has screened this film multiple times in the last 20 years. Some theatres have screened it a dozen times each. Pick any single screen Kannada theatre and Om has been screened there 4-5 times. I have lost count of the number of times it has been released. But a rough estimate shows that it must have had more than 500 releases.“
Trade sources say at any given point of time, the film is being shown in at least one of the 400-odd theatres that screen Kannada films in Karnataka.
The film, directed by Upendra and starring Shiva Rajkumar, has never been screened on television neither has the home video of the film been released, adding to its appeal at the box office over the years. A few months ago, there were rumours that the satellite rights of the film have been sold for Rs. 10 crore. Maybe true, but nothing like to watch this movie on the big screen.
The film reinvented Shiva Rajkumar as the mascot of the ‘underworld/rowdy’ films. During its release, it created a controversy for having real-life rowdies playing themselves in it. Director Upendra became an overnight sensation and went on to become one of the biggest stars in Sandalwood.