This Friday sees two releases -- Ram Gopal Varma's Bhoot and Soumitra Ranade's Jajantaram Mamantaram. Coincidentally, both films do not have songs.
While Bhoot is a horror film, Jajantaram Mamantaram is a children's film.
The summer vacations make May the ideal month to release children's films. Earlier this summer, two other children's films -- Jose Punnoose's 3-D Chota Jadugar and Disney's Jungle Book 2 -- were released.
Jajantaram Mamantaram, inspired by Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels and the Gujarati fable, Bakasur, has a lot of special effects. According to Ashish Bhatnagar of iDreams Productions, the Rs 10 crore ($2.13 million) film is one of the most expensive children's films ever produced in India. The encouraging profits of Chota Jadugar spurred iDreams into promoting Jajantaram Mamantaram as an ideal summer entertainer.
But how will Jajantaram Mamantaram, starring Jaaved Jaaferi, Gulshan Grover and Joy Fernandes, fare against Ramu's Bhoot, whose cast includes Ajay Devgan, Urmila Matondkar, Fardeen Khan, Rekha, Tanuja, Seema Biswas and Nana Patekar?
Bhatnagar is confident about his film. "We will sell two sets of tickets -- for children and the adults who accompany them. But Bhoot will leave out the kids," he reasons.
"It is an interesting box office combat," smiles Suman Sinha, an exhibitor from Bihar who is keen to release Jajantaram Mamantaram in Patna, "because children, especially in a place like Bihar, have no means of entertainment besides television and cinema."
Ramu, meanwhile, is not underestimating his competition. "A small film is not defined by its budget or cast but by its box office performance," he says. "Jajantaram Mamantaram is a different genre, aiming at a completely different audience than Bhoot. I plan to release my 'small' film, Darna Manaa Hai, in June, on the same day as Sooraj Barjatya's Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon. Who knows what the box office has in store?"