The news that Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar’s comedy-drama Toilet: Ek Prem Katha will release on August 11, the same day as filmmaker Imtiaz Ali’s Shah Rukh Khan-starrer, spread like wild fire on Tuesday. While both actors didn’t comment on the clash, a source informs HT that it could not have been averted. “Toilet: Ek Prem Katha was earlier meant to release in early June, but that would’ve come in the middle of the holy month of Ramzan. The Fridays after Ramzan ends are already booked for Hollywood biggies including Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Spider-Man: Homecoming.The only date available then was August 11, which is also a long weekend on account of Rakhi and Independence Day. So this clash was inevitable,” says the source.
Interestingly, the much sought-after date — August 11— was earlier announced by Akshay Kumar for his Neeraj Pandey directorial, Crack. A few weeks after Akshay announced the film on Twitter, Shah Rukh Khan announced that his yet-untitled film starring Anushka Sharma will also release on the same date. While Akshay postponed plans to film Crack, and started work on Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, the clash was destined to happen on the same date.
Trade analyst Amul Mohan says such clashes are inevitable. “One cannot avoid clashes since there are only 52 weeks in a year, and almost 200 films release annually. August 11 was always Akshay’s preferred weekend. The audience will be divided for sure, and so will the money,” says Mohan.
Trade expert Atul Mohan says, “The subjects and settings of both the films are very different from each other. While Shah Rukh Khan’s film has been shot abroad in locations such as Prague and Amsterdam, Akshay’s film has a desi feel and has been shot in the hinterlands of Uttar Pradesh and MP, including Mathura and Hoshangabad. So eventually, it will be a clash between whether fans choose videshi or a desi subject.”
“While the three Khans — Shah Rukh, Salman and Aamir — book Diwali, Eid and Christmas weekends (respectively) for their films, Akshay Kumar typically chooses Independence Day or Republic Day to release his films as they have a patriotic flavour. This time, too, Akshay’s choice was Independence Day as his film touches upon the topic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for Swachh Bharat and addresses the problem of open defecation,” adds the source.
Fans meanwhile, will have to brace themselves for choosing between the superstars. Twitter user, Alia’s Omkar, wrote, “It’s better to avoid clash. Both are content driven movies but Imtiaz’s next film’s budget is huge. With clash it won’t be doing great.” Another user, an Akshay Kumar fan, tweeted, “This time, SRK is finished!”
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