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HindustanTimes Wed,30 Jul 2014

Salman, Hrithik face-off averted!

Prashant Singh, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, February 22, 2011
First Published: 13:35 IST(22/2/2011) | Last Updated: 13:41 IST(22/2/2011)

Nothing sells like success in Bollywood. Why else would distributors choose Salman Khan’s next release over Hrithik Roshan’s upcoming film? Khan’s bumper hit Dabangg has resulted in him winning the race to have his film, Ready, released before Roshan’s Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara (ZMND). Initially, both films were set to clash on May 27.

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It is believed that distributors were worried about two big movies releasing on the same day. Apparently, certain distributors also tried speaking to producers of both the films to avoid a clash. However, the makers weren’t willing to budge.

Suddenly, news came in about Excel Movies postponing ZMND to June 23. Trade sources say the release date of ZMND might have been postponed because a large chunk of distributors, especially from the smaller centers, were more excited about Ready rather than Hrithik’s ZMND.

Salman Khan“After Dabangg, Salman is a huge star at the box-office while Hrithik’s last two films, Kites and Guzaarish flopped miserably. Also, Zoya Akhtar’s first film Lucky By Chance was a flop. Distributors wanted a solo release for Ready because they feel the film is safer than ZMND, which looks like a niche film,” says a senior film distributor, not wishing to be named.

However, ZMND producer Ritesh Sidhwani says that the film has been postponed to June 23 because “it won’t be complete” by May. “I seriously don’t know anything about distributors from smaller or bigger centers preferring Ready over our film,” says Sidhwani, who has been in Malaysia for several days for the shooting of Don 2.

“As far as I know, one major distribution firm handles the distribution. And if Ready stars Salman Khan, our film also has a number of big names such as Hrithik, Abhay (Deol) and Katrina (Kaif). Plus, Salman is like family to us. So, there’s no question of competing with his films,” adds Sidhwani.

A Delhi-based distributor says that Salman has always been the “god of smaller centers.” He says, “After Dabangg, he has become a huge star with the masses. No other actor, including Hrithik, can compete with him in that space. Naturally, Salman’s Ready, thanks to Wanted and Dabangg, inspires more confidence than ZMND.”

Interestingly, Ready too has been postponed to June 3 to avoid clashing with the Indian Premier League finals on May 29. “Due to the IPL finals being postponed, the release date of Ready has now been pushed,” says producer Bhushan Kumar.

It may be recalled that Khan had earlier stated: “film (Guzaarish) ko ek kutta bhi dekhne nahi gaya” (not even a dog went to watch the film). Hrithik had retorted, “It’s not heroic to laugh or make fun of a filmmaker just because his box-office collections are not up there with yours (referring to Dabangg). In my opinion a hero never gloats. When you are super-successful, it should make you more gracious and loving. This is the time one should use to turn even enemies into friends... just give love, not laugh at others. By the time I finish this sentence, I would have already forgiven his words, because I know deep inside he only has love for me and this must have been just a momentary lapse of judgment. Will expect a big hug the next time I meet him.”

A few weeks ago, it was reported that Salman, buoyant with his Dabangg success, had decided to lock horns with Hrithik at the box-office and asked producer Bhushan Kumar to release the film on May 27, along with ZMND.

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