August Fireworks: ‘Chennai Express’, ‘OUATIM-2’, ‘Satyagraha’ – What More To Expect?

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MUMBAI: Is Independence Day the new Diwali for Bollywood? Come August and one will see as many as five biggies clashing horns. While ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ ruled the roost last August, its tough to say what we have in store this year. But it surely is BIG! this year. 

The last few years has mostly seen one or two films releasing during the Independence weekend. The general trend over the years has been that, the week prior to 15 August and the week post that have less ‘big’ releases, and it gives ample time for the one or two films releasing over the Independence weekend, to sustain their hold at the box office.

Barring ‘Peepli Live’ (Thanks to Aamir Khan, because of whom the film managed to get a theatrical release) in 2010, and ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ last year, which made good business, ‘Aarakshan’ by Prakash Jha in 2011 generated an average response.

But this was the case with a solo release. This year, five films have set their eye at the box office. 8 August will see Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone in south style romance ‘Chennai Express’. A week later, we see Akshay Kumar and Imran Khan along with Sonakshi Sinha in the most awaited sequel ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Dobara.’ The same day, showman Subhash Ghai plans a comeback with ‘Kaanchi’ and the week later Prakash Jha takes us back to our roots with ‘Satyagraha’. For now these four films have confirmed their release dates. And then there’s also ‘Madras Café’ by Vicky Donor director ‘Shoojit Sircar’ which apparently eyes a 30 August release.

In the wake of all this, there will already be competition from the July releases ‘Lootera’ (5 July), ‘Bhaag Milka Bhaag’ (12 July), ‘D-Day’ (19 July). So it’s surely raining movies in the two months. But what about business? Well that definitely seems to not be taken into consideration here.

While producers fight over dates and same-day releases, even a week’s shift in such a case might just be a lucky boon amidst such a heavy competition.

UTV Motion Pictures – CEO, Siddharth Roy Kapur said at the launch of ‘Chennai Express’, “It’s really good that two films are not sharing the same release dates. In this way both will not eat into each other’s business.”

Shah Rukh Khan, present at the event and also producer of ‘Chennai Express’ added by saying, “We are extremely thankful to Jeetuji (Jeetendra) for shifting ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Dobara’ a week later. Every film is important and I am glad we could sort things out amicably.”

On the contrary Akshay Kumar had earlier said that he has no qualms on films clashing on the same date. But we are well aware of what happened when his 2010 Diwali release ‘Action Replay’ released together with ‘Golmaal 3’.

While fans get a variety of movies to choose from, it will be a hard time for multiplex owners to accommodate these releases and cater to multiple shows for the many films. However several multiplex and single screens are upbeat and are gearing up for the release.

Mr. Salim from G-7 Multiplex Bandra says, “It’s too early to talk about the August releases. But we are sure all films will do great business.”

PVR-Senior VP (Operations), Rahul Singh says, “We envisage all the above films to be super blockbusters. Right from ‘Chennai Express’, Satyagraha’, ‘Madras Café’ and others patrons will have a wide variety to choose from and August will be a super movie month.”

Speaking about the rising competition at ticket windows over multiple releases, he added, “As far as the competition is concerned, it has become the norm for big films to release back-to-back, so there will be plenty of room for these. As the screens have also increased, and patrons will now plan out which films they’d like to see in the first weekend, and which in the following week/ weekend, all the films will end up doing great business.”

Of the five how many will achieve box-office success, well it’s hard to say, but surely Diwali has come way too early this time for Bollywood. It’s time for some heavy fireworks.

(With Inputs From Neha Kirpalani)

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