In 2001, on June 15, when Lagaan and Gadar: Ek Prem Katha released on the same day, not many expected both the films to become runaway hits. Since then, we haven’t seen several examples of two films releasing on the same date and doing well.
Last year, Dilwale didn’t live up to the audience’s expectations when it released alongside Bajirao Mastani. This year, Mohenjo Daro, which released with Rustom, met with the same fate.
“With increased competition, and the division of shows, it won’t be easy for us to see the Lagaan-Gadar case repeat itself. In such a scenario, even a slightly negative report can badly affect a film,” says trade analyst Taran Adarsh.
Film-maker Sanjay Gupta, whose next movie, Kaabil, starring Hrithik Roshan, is scheduled to clash with Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees (on January 26), insists, “A clash is never good.”
Still, a number of films are set to clash in the coming months. Baar Baar Dekho will release with Freaky Ali (on September 9), Pink with Raaz Reboot (on September 16), Ae Dil Hai Mushkil with Shivaay (on October 28), Dear Zindagi with Kahaani 2 (on November 25), Jolly LLB 2 with Raabta (on February 10), and Jagga Jasoos with Noor (on April 7).
“It doesn’t make sense to fight for a regular week with only Sunday as the holiday. It is only going to spoil the market for both the parties,” adds Sanjay. Taran feels that clashes must be avoided, as most makers are already walking a tightrope. “Today’s audiences have many other options for entertainment, including TV, Internet, etc,” he says.
Content is king
So, how do makers ensure their films do better than the other releases? Experts say it all boils down to the content. “The factors that determine the fate of a film are not just entirely star-dependent. Ultimately, the story of a film will take it ahead, not a holiday or a festival period,” says exhibitor-distributor Akshaye Rathi.
However, Sanjay doesn’t understand the rush for a ‘holiday release’. “What’s the obsession with it? All of us have watched films starring Amitabh Bachchan without thinking about whether it is a ‘holiday release’ or not,” says the film-maker.