This IPL season, big films take a back seat; offbeat and medium-budget releases all set to shine
In a country where Bollywood and cricket enjoy a religion-like status, choosing between the two can be difficult for fans. Perhaps that’s why films take a back seat during the Indian Premier League season around this time of the year. While this still stands true for the big-budget releases, the offbeat and medium-budget films hope to use this box-office window to their advantage. Here’s looking at Bollywood’s business prospects in these cricket-heavy months.
What does it look like?
The new season of IPL began on April 7 and will continue till May 27. Some early weekends during this period have multiple releases lined up, but Fridays after May 11 would face a dry spell, with just a film or two coming out. Last week, while Tiger Shroff’s Baaghi 2 enjoyed a strong run in its second week, Irrfan-starrer dark comedy Blackmail failed to get a great opening at the box office, despite the film being praised by fans and critics alike. Trade experts say that a large part of business was affected due to the commencement of the cricket tournament.
IPL Vs Box Office
While earlier, filmmakers would shy away from releasing films during IPL, the trend gradually changed when some films broke the jinx. Trade analyst Komal Nahta says, “Every month, there is some opposition or the other, so I don’t think filmmakers wait. Only the big ones like a Race 3 won’t come in the midst of IPL matches but others have given in.” Trade analyst Taran Adarsh adds that IPL can’t be seen as a threat every Friday. “It’s usually the first week and last week that are tough for filmmakers. In between, if the film has merit to stand out, it still works,” he says.
Time for offbeat films
October, starring Varun Dhawan, releases on April 13; 102 Not Out, featuring Rishi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan, on May 4; and Alia Bhatt’s Raazi is scheduled for a May 11 release. One could argue that these fall in the ‘big releases’ bracket, but Nahta says that their content is what sets these films apart from the mainstream ones, and hence they need “more opposition-free screens” to fare well. “They can do with the opposition of IPL but not with the opposition of multi-starrer films,” he adds. Adarsh agrees, “October might have a big star like Varun Dhawan, but it’s not your usual masala film... Shoojit [Sircar] is a very good storyteller, so fans won’t ditch the film for IPL.”
Hope for medium budget films
Films such as Omerta, Daas Dev, Beyond The Clouds, Naani Ki Janu and FryDay are scheduled for release in the April-May period. “In the absence of big releases, smaller ones have a chance to stand out,” says trade analyst Atul Mohan, who believes that “if the content is good and they are backed by good reviews, they might slowly pick up momentum, just how it happened with Pyaar Ka Punchnama and Vicky Donor, which became sleeper hits during IPL.
When IPL gets over
Fans can expect June to start on a high note, with the release of Veere Di Wedding, starring Sonam Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor Khan, on June 1; followed by Soorma, featuring Diljit Dosanjh and Taapsee Pannu; and the biopic on actor Sanjay Dutt, starring Ranbir Kapoor, on June 29. “It’s a well thought of strategy, as the audience would want to see some big films after mostly mid-budgeted ones,” says Nahta.
Interact with Monika Rawal Kukreja at Twitter/@monikarawal