Emraan Hashmi’s fans in Mumbai might be disappointed this Friday, as his new film, Ek Thi Daayan, will not release in most single-screen theatres in the city.
While the film will open in multiplexes (and in single screen theatres in the rest of India).
The boycott is a result of the on-going feud between Balaji Motion Pictures and UTV Motion Pictures because of their clashing Eid releases. Balaji’s Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Again and UTV’s Chennai Express release on the same day in August.
As ETD is distributed by Balaji in the Mumbai circuit, Ekta is using ETD and her upcoming release Shootout At Wadala to add pressure on theatre owners to get more screens for Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai.
“Balaji feels slighted since single-screen owners bought UTV’s Himmatwala and Chennai Express together and sidelined Once Upon.... But with Himmatwala bombing and Nautanki Saala and Commando running out of steam, they need a new film,” says a trade insider.
Manoj Desai, owner of G7, Bandra, and Maratha Mandir, Mumbai Central, sounds angry as he says, “Ekta’s decision will harm her own film. Theatres won’t shut down if she doesn’t give us a movie. We will show some English release dubbed in Hindi instead. We don’t like anyone trying to monopolise things.”
Manoj, however, is hopeful that things will work out, as the Mumbai circuit makes for 40 per cent of overall box-office collections for any movie.
Trade analyst Amod Mehra says, “Balaji hinted to single-screen owners that if they wanted Ek Thi Daayan and Shooutout At Wadala, they’d have to give Once Upon… the same number of screens as Chennai Express. But as these theatres have signed a contract with UTV (for Chennai Express), they can’t back out. This decision will hurt Balaji more, since Emraan is a massy star (sic).” Balaji refused to comment on the matter.