Of clashes and changing release dates: It’s musical chairs in Bollywood

Pamdavati (or maybe Padamavat) is set to release on Jan 26, locking horns with Pad Man. That has led to Aiyaary changing its release date from Jan 26 to Feb 9, and then... and then... the reshuffle goes on.

bollywood Updated: Jan 10, 2018 11:19 IST
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Hindustan Times
Pad Man and Padmavati (or maybe Padmavat) are likely to have a big box office clash on January 25, 2018.

Announce a film, book a release date, and then start shooting — this has been the norm in Bollywood for years. However, for fans saving a date for a big film, it often means crossing out one date and circling a new one. For, if the release date of one such big film changes, that starts a game of musical chairs for all others.

Sample this: Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati (possibly renamed Padmavat), starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, and Shahid Kapoor, is now reportedly releasing on January 25, though no official announcement has been made yet. If so, it’ll clash with the Akshay Kumar-starrer Pad Man. Now that would be a very tight squeeze for Neeraj Pandey’s Army film, Aiyaary, starring Manoj Bajpayee and Sidharth Malhotra, which was to be out on the Republic Day weekend. The film is changing its release date to February 9 and, thus, clashing with Anushka Sharma’s Pari, and Luv Ranjan’s Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety. We hear that to avoid this fresh clash with Aiyaary, the makers of Pari might push their release to March. Phew!

Anushka Sharma’s Pari and the Sidharth Malhotra-starrer Aiyaary are likely to clash on February 9, 2018.

Another big film that has had its release date postponed twice is Shankar’s 2.0, starring Rajinikanth and Akshay Kumar. The film, which was to release in 2017, got a new date, January 26, but has now been moved to April 13, causing anguish among the film’s producers.

‘Make it organised and ethical’

Annoyed with the situation, filmmaker Anubhav Sinha tweeted: “Dear Bollywood, can we learn some reason, courtesy, manners, consideration in deciding our release dates? Or is it the big bad ocean of Big fish, small fish?” When contacted, Sinha tells us, “I understand everyone wants to make the best out of opportunities, but the industry needs to behave in a set manner. The system of co-existence is out of the window. Right now, nobody gives a damn about each other, and that’s ridiculous. Clashes are bound to happen, but it needs to get a little more organised and ethical. We can decide things in a friendly manner.”

‘It’s unavoidable and unfortunate’

Talking about films eating into each other’s business, Pad Man makers are not apprehensive. Prernaa Arora, one of the producers, says, “January 25 is a big release date, as it’s a long weekend, too. Padmavat and our film have different marketing strategies, so I don’t see why anyone should be concerned. Clashes usually affect smaller films, if a big film comes out on the same day.”

Ranjan says, “It’s unavoidable and unfortunate. Everyone would want to have a solo release but that can’t happen. If two films are of the same size and they can co-exist, there’s no harm. But if they have to eat into each other’s business, you can’t stop that either.”

Sara Ali Khan’s debut film Kedarnath and the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Zero are likely to clash on December 21, 2018.

Size and genres count

In more recent examples, the biopic on actor Sanjay Dutt was to release on March 30, but one day after Baaghi 2 makers announced the same release date, director Rajkumar Hirani pushed the biopic to June 29. And after Aanand L Rai announced December 21 as the release date for the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Zero, speculation is rife that the makers of Kedarnath, the debut vehicle of Sara Ali Khan, will push back their already announced release date.

Prernaa adds, “A film like Kedarnath, which is heavily content-based and launching a new actor, would want a solo release. But since the whole year is blocked, it’s a helpless situation.”

The Sanjay Dutt biopic (with Ranbir Kapoor playing Dutt) was to release on March 30, but now it has been pushed to June 29, thus avoiding a clash with Baaghi 2 (starring Tiger Shroff).

Rescheduling and the ripple effect

Trade analyst Taran Adarsh feels that when one big film gets rescheduled, it has a ripple effect on the remaining films that don’t want a clash. “So many films are coming and weekends and holidays are limited, so one has to be prepared for a clash and screen footfalls are bound to be divided. The only way out is to have solid content, as the box office can be really unpredictable. Even when Dilwale and Bajirao Mastani released together, it proved that big stars can guarantee a good opening day, but then, content wins,” says Adarsh.

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First Published: Jan 09, 2018 16:11 IST