Multiplexes are looking to find their pot of gold this Diwali with the Akshay Kumar and Sanjay Dutt starrer Blue which is itself about a treasure hunt. Other films competing for their place in the viewers mindspace are Main Aurr Mrs. Khanna and All The Best.
"Diwali is mostly for big-budget movies with huge star casts and that is what actually brings in footfalls. Considering the buzz around Blue, we are trying to keep the maximum number of shows for it - 16 per day. We have opened advance bookings on Thursday for the film," Amit Awasthi, manager (programming and operations) of Spice Cinemas at Noida, told IANS.
Tusshar Dhingra, COO of Big Cinemas said: "Diwali is a big movie season. Even the audiences expect big releases during this time and are very liberal when it comes to spending during Diwali. We have opened the advance bookings for 'Blue' as of now and will open it for the other two also in a day or two."
Anthony D'Souza's directorial debut Blue is not only the country's first underwater film but the most expensive too. According to an industry source, producer Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision Ltd has splurged Rs.80 crore on its making.
It also stars Lara Dutta, Zayed Khan and Katrina Kaif along with Australian pop princess Kylie Minogue in a cameo.
"We are expecting the movie (Blue) to stay at number one on the festive weekend with a terrific initial. While Main Aurr Mrs. Khanna and All The Best will be at the second and the third spot respectively as per our calculations. We are keeping around 13 shows per day for the other two," said Amit Awasthi.
Added a source from PVR Cinemas: "It is being distributed by PVR Pictures in North India and we opened the advance bookings for the film from Oct 4 onwards on the Internet and the response so far has been very encouraging."
Main Aurr Mrs.Khanna is a co-production of Sohail Khan Productions and Ronnie Screwvala and is being distributed by UTV Motion Pictures. Made at a budget of around Rs.40 Crore (Rs.400 million), it is releasing with around 1,200 prints worldwide.
Starring Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor in the lead, this romantic drama is also made by a first time director, Prem Soni.
Director Rohit Shetty's All The Best - Fun Begins, on the other hand, is a comedy starring Ajay Devgan, Bipasha Basu, Fardeen Khan, and Mugdha Godse. Made at a budget of Rs.40 crore, the film is produced by Ajay.
"We are also going to open advance bookings for all three October 9 onwards. Considering the audience queries and the hype, Blue is going to take a very good advance booking as well as initial. We haven't received the censors (censored prints) yet but as soon as we do, we will try to keep a mix bag of all the three as far as shows are concerned though 'Blue' will be on the maximum scale," said Amit Shah, chief manager (programming) of DLF DT cinemas.
Despite an unprecedented buzz for Blue and the same day of release as his film, director Soni is unperturbed at the competition.
"I have no apprehensions. It takes a lot of energy for every filmmaker to make a movie. So there are no hard feelings for anyone. May the best win because they are all of different genres and have their own set of audiences," he had told IANS.