It’s raining films, hallelujah! For the first time, 21 big films will hit theatres across India in one month alone. Of these, 17 are Bollywood films with a staggering R400 crore filming cost riding on them. While most big stars — Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, John Abraham, Rabir Kapoor, Mallika Sherawat, Bipasha Basu, Emraan Hashmi — have films lined up, Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan have big TV shows hitting the air this month, too.
The big month
For cinema owners, it’s almost like an early Diwali. “October is always the best month for us and, with so many releases this year, it’s only getting better,” says Deepak Taluja of Fun Cinemas.
“This year, the reason is partly the backlog from September, including films such as Aakrosh and Anjaana Anjaani (which delayed release because of the Babri Masjid verdict). Also, many production houses planned their releases for the pre–Diwali period as the next festive point is in January,” explains Jayendra Banerjee of Satyam Cinema. “It’s an unusual October, also because people normally don’t release films during the shraadh. But, this time even Robot, which alone has a budget of R125 crore, is releasing in this period,” says trade analyst Komal Nahta.
Bollywood’s problem of plenty could also mean risk. “This is the first time such a thing is happening, and it’s going to be chaotic. We cannot screen all the movies, so we have to choose from the films, and reduce the number of shows given to each film,” says Taluja.
“We will be running 25-28 shows a day. We are prepared to release 5-6 films a week, but we can only give each movie four shows a day now, unlike the usual eight,” says Banerjee. Industry analysts concur. “Usually, there are five to six releases a month. This is very surprising. I wonder how people will find the time to watch so many films,” says trade analyst Taran Adarsh, who warns that producers should be prepared for losses.