Big ticket movies scramble for releases in coming months

MUMBAI: With a chunk of big ticket movies lined up in the coming months, release dates have been witnessing a continuous shuffle.

What seemed like an exciting Diwali period, with films like Shah Rukh Khan starrer Billo Barber, Akshay Kumar – Deepika Padukone starrer Chandni Chowk To China and Roadside Romeo that were lined up for release on 24 October, now seems ho-hum.

While the release of Chandni Chowk to China has been shifted to 16 January, 2009; Billo Barber’s release is said to have moved to 7 November. However, it is most likely that the date will be shifted to early 2009. Pertinent to note here is that Khan’s next with Yash Raj Films titled Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi is confirmed for a release on 12 December, which is a month after Billo Barber. If the latter does release on 7 November, it will be Khan’s first film release in 2008. If not, then Aditya Chopra’s much touted comeback Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi will be Khan’s first this year.

With these changes, the Diwali period will now see the release of Salman Khan’s Heroes, Planman Motion Pictures’ I Am 24 and Yash Raj Films and Walt Disney’s animation movie Roadside Romeo. While Heroes is directed by Samir Karnik, it also stars Sunny Deol, Bobby Deol, Mithun Chakraborty, Preity Zinta, Sohail Khan, Vatsal Sheth amongst others. On the other hand, I Am 24 is directed by Saurabh Shukla and stars Ranvir Shorey, Neha Dhupia and Rajat Kapoor amongst others. Roadside Romeo has voice-overs by Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Jaaved Jaffrey.

Traditionally, the Diwali period is looked as the most lucrative window for producers. Over the years, big films like Om Shanti Om and Saawariya; Jaan-E-Mann and Don; Garam Masala and Kyon Ki…; Aitraaz and Veer Zaara have been pitted against each other during this period. This will be the first time that a Bollywood action film (Heroes) will be pitched against an animation film (Roadside Romeo).

The week after Diwali will see the release of Sanjay Dutt starrer EMI, Madhur Bhandarkar’s Fashion and Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision’s Golmaal Returns.

On the other hand, if Billo Barber stands by the 7 November release date, it will clash with Rajshri Productions’ Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi, One More Thought Entertainment’s Khalbali – Fun Unlimited and Ketan Mehta’s Rang Rasiya. Moreover, the week after these movies hit the marquee, Dharma Productions’ first release of 2008 Dostana directed by Tarun Mansukhani and starring Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham and Priyanka Chopra is slated to hit screens.

Amongst the films that have been postponed to a later date are the Aamir Khan starrer Ghajini and Subhash Ghai’s Yuvvraaj, which are slated to release in late November and December respectively

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