Om Shanti Om or Saawariya? Audiences aren't really discriminating as they opt for either of the two blockbuster movies that release Friday and are booked right through the Diwali weekend.
The simultaneous release of two of the biggest films of the year has set the box office afire with viewers game to watch both Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Saawariya that brings to the screen newcomers Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor -- and Farah Khan's Om Shanti Om that stars Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone.
If you don't get a ticket for one, just go for the other.
"We will have three shows of Saawariya and two shows of Om Shanti Om. Eighty percent of the tickets have been sold out for Friday. The advance booking for both films started Tuesday morning and we sold tickets worth Rs.400,000," said Ajay Varma, head of operations and programming at the capital's Chanakya cinema hall.
"We have full bookings till Monday," Varma told IANS.<b1>
There was some confusion about Om Shanti Om in the multiplexes. Advance booking started a little late following a dispute between multiplex owners and distributors over profit sharing from ticket sales. Shah Rukh Khan, who is also the producer, sold the film to Eros for a reported Rs.700 million.
Multiplex owners were at loggerheads with the distributors of Saawariya too. The first Hindi film from Hollywood studio Sony Pictures, Saawariya cost about Rs.350 million and distributors were demanding 50 percent share from ticket sales of multiplex owners in the first two weeks.
But Sony resolved its differences with distributors a little earlier, resulting in Bhansali's film getting a headstart.
Said trade analyst Amod Mehra: "'Saawariya is showing 'houseful' signs in every theatre where the advance booking started earlier. Saawariya definitely had an edge in the advance booking. It's jam-packed in every theatre, every show."
But Shah Rukh Khan's film is fast catching up.
Said Saurabh Varma, vice president programming and distribution INOX leisure Ltd: "The booking for Om Shanti Om started last evening but it is going very strong, especially in West Bengal. Both films are getting equally good response. People are not discriminating and are buying tickets for both films."
Ashish Saxena, COO of PVR Cinemas, added that they were not expecting a capacity crowd on Friday as it was Diwali. "Still we have 60 to 70 percent bookings for the evening and night shows. But the bookings for next four days are quite satisfactory. And people are giving the same response... they want to see both the films."
Though romance is the mainstay of both films, they are completely different in mood and style. While Om Shanti Om is director Farah Khan's tribute to the colourful and vibrant cinemas of the 70s, Bhansali's film is a mystical love story set in Shimla.
Farah has woven her film around the reincarnation theme with Bollywood as its backdrop, while Bhansali has given importance to opulence and grandeur.