On the festival of Dussehra, on Thursday, director Vikas Bahl’s new film, Shaandaar, hit the theatres. This Shahid Kapoor-starrer marked the beginning of Bollywood’s festive period this year, which is believed to be great for the box office. “Some of the biggest films are generally reserved for this period. So, it’s an extremely crucial phase for the industry,” says analyst Amod Mehra. As per trade estimates, the festive period this year has close to `700 crore riding on it.
The big-ticket movies
Post Vikas’s film, Salman Khan will be seen in Sooraj Barjatya’s Diwali release, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. It will be followed by Imtiaz Ali’s Tamasha, starring Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone; it will come out towards the end of November. December will begin with the Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar-starrer, Wazir. The much-awaited Christmas clash will take place between Rohit Shetty’s Dilwale (starring Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and Varun Dhawan) and Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani (starring Ranveer Singh, Deepika and Priyanka Chopra).
Also read: Shaandaar review
“As compared to regular weekends around the year, a holiday release definitely helps the film do better business in the opening weekend. But, in the long run, only the content matters, unless there are multiple holidays lined up after a film’s release. In fact, in such a case, the business can go up by as much as 15%,” explains film-maker Kabir Khan, whose Eid release, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, was a blockbuster.
For the record
In the past, this same festive period has witnessed hits like Taare Zameen Par (2007), Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008), 3 Idiots (2009), Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012), Krrish 3 (2013), and PK (2014), among others. “Traditionally, the pre-Diwali period isn’t considered auspicious as people tend to spend their money on other things, like painting their houses and buying gifts, etc. But people start coming back to theatres in big numbers post Diwali,” says Mehra.
However, a festive release does not necessarily guarantee a hit. “This period is more auspicious than any other weekend, but we have also witnessed not-so-great responses on Diwali with films like Saawariya (2007), Blue (2009) and Action Replayy (2010),” says Akshaye Rathi, exhibitor-distributor.
In the parallel universe
Interestingly, this year, the festive period will also see two big Hollywood franchises hitting the theatres — the new James Bond film, Spectre, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.