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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

Advance booking: the latest Bollywood trend

Hindustan Times  Mumbai, April 23, 2014
First Published: 10:25 IST(23/4/2014) | Last Updated: 10:43 IST(23/4/2014)

The makers of at least half a dozen big-banner, big-star-cast films have already announced that they will be releasing their projects next year.

For instance, Sooraj Barjatya’s comeback project, Prem Rattan Dhan Payo, with Salman Khan, slated for release around Diwali 2015, was announced as early as the first half of 2013.

Is this a sign of better planning, or just a case of reserving dates way in advance? We ask trade analysts and film-makers.

Blocking dates
Barjatya’s film isn’t the only one. Karan Johar recently announced that his ambitious project, Shuddhi, will release in December 2015, alongside Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani.

While the cast for Karan’s film is yet to be decided, for Bhansali’s film, the actors were confirmed much after the film’s initial announcement.

Director Nitesh Tiwari (Bhoothnath Returns) feels "it is a race to block preferred dates, because more releases are clashing these days. For now, it’s only the big players who are announcing their dates in advance."

Film exhibitor and distributor, Akshaye Rathi, concurs, saying, "It’s an indirect way of cutting down competition. Once the dates are blocked, everyone is aware of other projects in the pipeline. They are subject to change, so if the film isn’t ready in time, it can be pushed for later."

READ: BOLLYWOOD CALENDAR FOR 2015

Standard procedure
Producer Ramesh Taurani, who has announced an untitled project with Salman for next year, believes this is the usual procedure. "Film-makers don’t make announcements without working out the logistics. When you plan a film, you make sure you have confirmed dates and know how long it will take to complete it."

Film-maker Sajid Nadiadwala agrees, saying, "Dates are blocked in advance since we have an idea of how long it’ll take to shoot a film. It also lets the audience know what to expect."

Trade analyst Taran Adarsh says this is how things are done in Hollywood: "We’re going the Hollywood way. We’re announcing films while they are still in the discussion phase. Once announcements are made, the logistics are then worked out."

Announced for 2015
Akshay Kumar’s untitled project with Neeraj Pandey
Shah Rukh Khan’s next Raees
Karan Johar’s Shuddhi
Ramesh Taurani’s untitled next with Salman Khan
Salman Khan’s untitled next with Kabir Khan
Saif Ali Khan’s untitled next with Prabhudheva
Saif Ali Khan’s untitled next with Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar

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