Too many films, no money
For the troubled film industry, the question is when to release the backlog of films
Subhash K Jha
With the ongoing Ramzan, the holy Islamic period of prayer and abstinence, the Mumbai film industry has put all its major releases on hold until Eid.
The question being asked by the troubled industry is, how long can the backlog be kept away from the turnstiles? Impatient and yet wary of the incessant whiplash of flops, film producers have lined up a battery of biggies for the next two months.
As a result, December 6, after Ramzan, is the most glutted Friday of the month with as many as six big releases lined up.
The latest information from the industry, though, suggests that not too many of those films will see the light of day. Madhur Bhandarkar and Suneel Darshan who had announced their prestigious films Satta and Talash, respectively, for December 6, have already pushed their releases forward.
Says Bhandarkar, "Satta will now release December 27, and that's final. I wanted to go into January to avoid getting crushed in the rush. But I want to be eligible for the popular awards for 2002."
Suneel Darshan also confirms that his film is no longer being released December 6. "But it is definitely on in December, probably December 20," he confirms from South Africa, where he is shooting with Akshay Kumar, Priyanka Chopra and Lara Dutta for his production Andaz, being directed by Raj Kanwar.
Suneel's brother Dharmesh is also in South Africa working on the script that he will shoot from December for producer Boney Kapoor with Anil Kapoor, Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty, Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and one more heroine opposite Anil.
That leaves the deck clear for Indra Kumar's father-son tearjerker Rishtey, Harry Baweja's love triangle Karz: The Burden Of Truth, and Sanjay Gupta's Kaante.
The release of the first two depends entirely on the third. If Gupta's Amitabh Bachchan-Sanjay Dutt-Sunil Shetty-Kumar Gaurav-Lucky Ali-Mahesh Manjrekar thriller will finally release December 6, the other two films will, in all likelihood, be held back.
But the question is, for how long? Because all pending films are in a frantic hurry to beat the World Cup Series, since cricket will keep the entire nation glued to the television sets in February.
The backlog of biggies must be cleared before that. Anubhav Sinha's adaptation of Meet The Parents, Aapko Pehle Bhi Kahin Dekha Hai, has already been pushed ahead by a month from December to January. "I don't want my small film to be crushed under the steamrollers that are rolling out of Bollywood," Sinha reveals.
Before the World Cup begins, producers intend to bring on at least 25 big films. Seven of them include Sanjay Khan's son Zayed's debut Chura Liya Hai Tumne, Raj Babbar's daughter Juhi's debut Kaash Aap Hamare Hote, and Guddu Dhanoa's Sunny-Tabu bone-cruncher Jaal -- The Trap, scheduled January 10.
Anil Sharma's post-Gadar opus The Hero (featuring, of course, Sunny Deol); Aishwarya Rai's post-Devdas musical Dil Ka Rishta, Feroz Khan's Fardeen Khan-Celina Jaitley actioner Jaanasheen and Ekta Kapoor's Tusshar starrer Kuch To Hai and Boney Kapoor ‘s Kareena Kapoor-Fardeen Khan romantic caper Khushi have been confirmed for January.
Will the already sagging box-office be able to bear the burden of these biggies heaped one on top of the other?