Numerologic! Not just titles, but Bollywood film release dates also decided by numerology
Numerology has its share of sceptics, but Bollywood swears by it. The latest instance is Padmaavat, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. That the film’s title had to be changed from the earlier Padmavati — as per the Censor Board’s suggestion, following Rajput protests — is common knowledge, but what left everyone puzzled was the extra ‘a’. The puzzle is answered by one word: numerology.
Bollywood is big on numerology. Titles of films such as Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, Judwaa 2, and Golmaal Again, were subjected to what we might call ‘numerologic’, as in ‘numbers + logic’. As for Padmaavat, even its release date has been decided by numerology — while the full-scale commercial release is on January 25, the paid previews are taking place on January 24.
Numerologist Sanjay B Jumaani reveals that it was his suggestion to the film’s creative team. “Earlier, Padmavati totalled to 30, and number 3 is for Jupiter. The director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, was born on the 24th (February), which is 6, [for] Venus. Changing the title to Padmavat, after removing the ‘i’, [the word] totalled an inauspicious number, 29, which indicates treachery and unexpected danger. I suggested that they could add a ‘d’ to bring it to 3 or 6. Bollywood’s longest-running film, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge (DDLJ) added up to 6.”
Jumaani says, referring to the first Bollywood film for which he was consulted, “Our first title, Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai had two ‘a’s, and the last film, Golmaal Again, added up to the same number. Padmaavat’s team took my second option. The two ‘a’s add up to 30, which is better.” However, in Baahubali’s case, an extra ‘a’ was removed, and the poster used a symbol to indicate the long vowel in the character’s name.
Also, the fact that the film is technically releasing on the 24th is numerologically correct, because “24 adds up to 6, which is a luckier date”, says Jumaani.
Judging by the success of these films, numerology will continue to find takers.
Aanand L Rai, the producer of films such as Shubh Mangal Saavdhan and presenter of Newton (whose original release date was September 22, 2017, but was advanced to September 21 for paid previews), says, “Honestly, once you start believing in something, it’s only faith that moves you. It happened with me when I got an extra ‘a’ added to my name. When you start showing faith, somewhere, psychologically, it starts working for you. It’s more of that than anything else.”
Trade expert Atul Mohan reasons, “Producers always want that the title should justify the film. They resort to numerology agar koi vehem daal de (if someone instills some doubt in them) ki ‘yeh title nahi hona chahiye’. This happens, too, because they want that no sort of negativity should be there.”
The upcoming film, Fanne Khan, which stars Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Anil Kapoor, and Rajkummar Rao, removed the ‘y’ from the earlier title, Fanney Khan. The producer, Prernaa Arora, says, “My mom is a big believer in this.” Asked if this belief in numbers is valid in today’s age of reason, she says, “No idea. For example, I believe in the number 8, which brings me good luck. Mentally khush rehne ke liye bhi (to be happy) you follow it. I wouldn’t want to change even a chair or handkerchief if things are working for me!”
Prernaa’s co-production, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, had highlighted ‘Toilet’ and wrote the rest in Hindi. Yes, numerology, you guessed it right.
However, Jumaani himself says, “Success is a blend of good fortune and hard work. It doesn’t mean, for example, that Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai mein do ‘a’ laga diye toh picture hit ho gayi (that adding two ‘a’s made the film a hit). The makers and actors have to work hard, too.”
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