March is usually lean season for tinseltown because of exams, but come month end, Bollywood's gonna rock at a screen near you. Says Sanjay Mehta of Bobby Arts, "Once the board examinations are over then the real bonanza will begin."
Compared to last year, Mehta says the summer of 2008 seems to have more to offer. "Last year had Ta Ra Rum Pum, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom and Fool n Final, all movies that failed at the box office.
This year has fewer films but with more hype because of their look and the cast. U Me aur Hum reunites Kajol and Ajay after a decade and Saif and Kareena will be seen together for the first time in Tashan. June will see the Bachchans appear together for the first time after the Abhi-Ash wedding."
After no movies last week, Subhash Ghai's Black & White is the new release this week. "There's a lot of optimism in the industry," says trade analyst Taran Adarsh.
"There are big banner films from Mukta Arts, UTV and Yash Raj Films and multiplex movies like Aamir, Alibaug and Pankh."
"It's our busiest summer," says executive VP, marketing and revenue, UTV Motion Pictures, Sidharth Roy Kapoor. "After Race, there's Neeraj Pandey's A Wednesday with Naseeruddin Shah, Night Shyamalan's The Happening and Shyam Benegal's Mahadev.
It's not just production houses that are excited about the summer, but also the stars. Like Priyanka Chopra, who, after a washed out 2007, is super excited about June and her two movies Love Story 2050 and God Tussi Great Ho. "Both films are looking path-breaking," she says.
According to industry sources, approximately Rs 250-300 crore is at stake this summer. Race itself has approximately Rs 30 crore riding on it. "No one can decide a film's fate till it's released," says filmmaker Rakesh Roshan.
"But one can hope that both viewer and filmmaker go home happy ."