The Clash of Diwali Releases
Diwali is boom time for a lot of businesses, and for Bollywood, too, Diwali means big bucks.
It's that time of the year when the biggest names in filmdom release their movies. It's all planned months in advance. The dates are announced and sometimes even theatres are blocked.
And there are some unwritten rules. Like Eid is Salman Khan's big day. King Khan's movies release during Diwali. Aamir Khan uses the Christmas and New Year period for his releases.
Following these unwritten rules, filmmakers make sure that no producer or actor eats into the other's business.
As the industry has grown, however, so have the problems.
Bollywood is more than just the Khans now. From seniors such as Ajay Devgn to the new gen Ranbir Kapoor, their films are raking in over Rs 100 crore. Clearly, their films too have to be accommodated during the holiday/festival time.
The ongoing war between Yashraj Films and Ajay Devgn, with legal notices being served, shows how important it is to get the right date and the maximum number of screens.
Ajay Devgn told Rediff.com in an interview recently: "Every year, two films release during Diwali. And not just Diwali; otherwise, too, there have been big clashes with releases on the same date. Most of the time, if both films are good, both will work well."
Trade pundits agree that all else being equal, there is room for not one or two but even three films to do well at the box office at the same time.
The Diwali release war is not new. Let's take a look at some of the blasts from the past at the theaters during Diwali.
Image: A scene from Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Son of Sardaar
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Bade Miyan Chote Miyan (1998)
In the pre-multiplex age way back in 1998, Karan Johar released his first film Kuch Kuch Hota Hai with stars Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and Rani Mukherji.
On the same day, David Dhawan released his comedy film Bade Miyan Chote Miyan starring Amitabh Bachchan and Govinda.
Both films turned out to be huge hits. Clearly there was enough room for two films to do good business. Whether the single screen exhibitor chose KKHH or BMCM, they made huge profits.
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was the highest grosser of 1998, earning Rs 77 crore gross in India and was declared a blockbuster.
Bade Miyan Chote Miyan collected Rs 35 crore gross and was declared a hit.
Image: A scene from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Bade Miyan Chote Miyan
Mohabbatein, Mission Kashmir (2000)
Shah Rukh Khan's Mohabbatein and Hritik Roshan's Mission Kashmir released on the same day.
Both films had established producers: Yash Chopra and Vidhu Vinod Chopra respectively.
Trade analyst Amod Mehra says, "Mohabbatein performed much better because it was a light film as compared to Mission Kashmir. During festival time people prefer watching light films."
Mohabbatein opened well, pulling in Rs 54.25 crore gross for the year and was termed a hit.
The gross collection of Mission Kashmir in the same year was Rs 37.25 crore and it was considered a semi-hit.
Image: A scene from Mohabbatein and Mission Kashmir
Veer Zaara, Aitraaz (2004)
In 2004, it was Shah Rukh Khan again, this time pitted against Khiladi Kumar.
The Yash Chopra directed Veer Zaara and Abbas Mustan's Aitraaz, produced by Subhash Ghai, went head to head.
Veer Zaara opened better than Aitraaz.
Veer Zaara grossed Rs 17 crores in its first week and was the highest grosser of 2004.
Aitraaz was an average performer at the box office.
Image: A scene from Veer Zaara and Aitraaz
Kyon Ki, Garam Masala (2005)
In 2005, Salman Khan tried his luck in a Diwali release with Kyon Ki.
The other release at the same time was the Akshay Kumar and John Abraham starer Garam Masala.
Kyon Ki failed and Garam Masala turned out to be a hit grossing Rs 52.31 crore in its full theatrical run.
Image: A scene from Kyon Ki and Garam Masala
Don, Jaan-E-Mann (2006)
That didn't stop Salman Khan from testing the waters of the festive season once again in 2006. This time it was the clash of the Khans: Shah Rukh versus Salman.
Shah Rukh Khan's Don was directed by Farhan Akhtar. The Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar starer Jaan-E-Mann was directed by Shirish Kunder.
Salman failed yet again. Don was the hands-down winner. It became the fifth highest grossing film in India till then, with revenues of Rs 51 crore only from its domestic market.
Jaan-E-Mann released in 1200 screens worldwide but made just Rs 35 crore gross at the box office and was declared a flop.
Image: A scene from Don and Jaan-E-Mann
Om Shanti Om, Saawariya (2007)
By now it was clear that Shah Rukh Khan held sway at Diwali time.
In 2007, SRK released his own production, the much hyped Om Shanti Om, alongside Sanjay Bhansali's Saawariya, which launched two star kids, Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor.
Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone and director Farah Khan went all out to promote OSO.
Once again SRK was a clear winner. Saawariya vanished without a trace.
Om Shanti Om opened in 878 cinemas and grossed a record-setting Rs 65.65 crore in its two weeks in India.
Image: A scene from Om Shanti Om and Saawariya
Fashion, Golmaal Returns (2008)
Madhur Bhandarkar's Fashion and Rohit Shetty's Golmaal Returns battled it out for eyeballs in 2008.
Both films started well. Then the Rohit Shetty-directed Golmaal, with Ajay Devgn in the lead, forged ahead.
Trade analyst Amod Mehra says, "Fashion also did well, but it was clear people were more in favour of Golmaal Returns because, again, it was a light-hearted film and the festive time is the best period for such films."
The collections of Golmaal Returns were as high as Rs 72 crore in the first week which was a huge record.
Fashion earned Rs 33 crore in its first week worldwide.
Image: A scene from Fashion and Golmaal Returns
Main Aur Mrs Khanna, Blue, All the Best (2009)
Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgn all had Diwali releases that year.
Ajay Devgn's All the Best was the clear winner. It was rated the ninth highest grosser of 2009.
Salman Khan's Main Aur Mrs Khanna was declared a dud in its first weekend.
Blue was made on a very high budget, but sank into the deep blue waters.
Image: A scene from Main Aur Mrs Khanna, Blue and All the Best
Golmaal 3, Action Replayy (2010)
The confident Rohit Shetty-Ajay Devgn combo once again took the lead with Golmaal 3.
Akshay Kumar's Action Replayy was the loser.
The opening weekend net collection for Golmaal 3 was a high Rs 33.5 crore.
Image: A scene from Golmaal 3 and Action Replay