Bollywood might be rejoicing with four back-to-back hits in New York, Kambakkht Ishq, Love Aaj Kal and Kaminey, but the film industry usually witnesses a dip in business during Ramadan. Filmmakers and distributors are hoping Dil Bole Hadippa and Wanted will break the jinx this year.
Both Yash Raj Films' Dil Bole Hadippa, which stars Rani Mukerji and Shahid Kapoor, and Salman Khan-starrer Wanted are releasing on September 18. Trade pundits say the two films might repeat the success story of last year's musical hit Rock On! that released during the same period.
"Ramadan has always been a month of gap-fillers and average movies and is not really a good period for business. Filmmakers don't really take risks during the month... so we don't have any powerful movies releasing during this time which eventually leads to low business. Moreover, the 'shradhs' (considered an inauspicious period by Hindus) are also falling with Ramadan this time and it's not considered a good time in the industry," Delhi-based distributor Joginder Mahajan told IANS.
Amit Awasthi, manager (programming and operations) of Spice Cinemas, Noida, agrees with Mahajan.
"Business is definitely going to plummet a bit during this month, as there are no big releases till September 18, and mediocre movies don't bring in footfalls. We are hoping post-mid-September will bring in potential business because of the big-budget line-up," said Awasthi.
Added a source from PVR cinemas: "This month will be lean courtesy Ramadan. Though we have many movies releasing every week, none of them has the capability to do business. But we are looking at footfalls with Dil Bole Hadippa and Wanted."
The first weekend (August 28) of Ramadan saw an ensemble of releases like Daddy Cool, Toss, Yeh Mera India, Kisaan, Love Khichdi and Quick Gun Murugun.
And following in quick succession are medium budget films like Chintu Ji, Three - Love, Lies and Betrayal, Aagey Se Right, Bachelor Party, Fox, Mohan Das - A Man Lost In His Own Nation and The Great Indian Butterfly that are releasing on September 4.
On Sep 11, Baabarr, Pankh, Ruslaan, Aamras and Vaada Raha...I Promise will reach theatres before the two biggies -- Dil Bole Hadippa and Salman's Wanted hit the screens on September 18.
"We generally don't have any major releases during this time because the Muslim belt doesn't generate any revenue. It's a dull period, bringing in close to only 15-30 percent of business. Moreover, with 'shradh' falling in tandem, it's really going to be slim," said Yogesh Raizada, corporate head (cinemas) of Wave cinemas.
"But by the time Dil Bole Hadippa and Wanted release, it will be close to Eid and Navratras and the festive mode will start picking up, and is considered commercially very viable," he added.
After the two biggies, Ashutosh Gowariker's much-talked about What's Your Raashee? starring Priyanka Chopra and Hurman Baweja will open on September 25.