The winter holidays are usually a time for two big actors or filmmakers to clash at the box office. But it's different this time, with two women directors - Farah Khan and Bhavna Talwar - set to vie for audience attention.
Farah and Talwar will battle it out when their films Tees Maar Khan and Happi respectively hit the screens in December. This is the first time this year that two woman-directed films will release the same day, December 24.
But none of the directors is fretting.
"I think it's a matter of great pride that two movies by two female directors are releasing on the same date in India. Women directors have been few and far between in Bollywood - but this goes to show a positive trend," Talwar told IANS over phone from Mumbai.Over the years, a lot of women directors like Meghna Gulzar, Reema Kagti, Sooni Taraporewala, Leena Yadav, Pooja Bhatt, Zoya Akhtar, Anusha Rizvi and Rajshree Ojha, apart from Talwar and Farah, have tasted success.
Choreographer-turned-director Farah, who has given blockbusters like Main Hoon Na and Om Shanti Om, says one shouldn't make it a gender issue any more.
"I really think we should stop judging people by their gender and (judge them) only by their work," Farah told IANS.
Farah's Tees Maar Khan, starring money- spinning on-screen couple Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif, is expected to be yet another potboiler, while Talwar's Happi is the simple story of a man, played by veteran actor Pankaj Kapoor, who doesn't expect much from life.
According to Talwar, whose debut film Dharm took the Nargis Dutt award for the best feature film on national integration at the 2007 National Film Awards ceremony, there is no comparison between the two films as the genres are completely different.
"It is no clash at all. There is no comparison between Farah's film and my project. Her film will be a commercial blockbuster, and mine is a sweet, simple film," said Talwar.
"I don't think my film will lose out anything. So many films are releasing on a single Friday these days. It is near impossible to get a free weekend. So then why be afraid of competition? I just hope people like my film," she added.
Though she is expecting critical acclaim for Happi, Talwar is also "crossing her fingers, legs and toes" for good commercial success.
"Both things matter to me - commercial success and critical acclaim. What's the point in getting commercial success if people write bad things about a film? So, I want the best of all," said Talwar.
Incidentally, Sameer Karnik's Yamla Pagla Deewana will also release on December 24. The film stars Dharmendra and his two sons - Sunny and Bobby Deol.
Christmas time is a period that has proved most successful for actor-producer Aamir Khan. He scored a hat-trick with Taare Zameen Par, Ghajini and 3 Idiots, released in 2007, 2008 and 2009 respectively, around the same time. All of them set the cash registers ringing.
But one has to wait and watch which one of Happi and Tees Maar Khan takes away the lion's share at the box office this December.