MUMBAI: Now that ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaara’ has received a mediocre response at the box-office, the blame-game has begun.
The games at the box-office started when both the films, ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaara’ and ‘Chennai Express’, were initially supposed to release on the same day, that is, 8 August. Eventually, Ekta Kapoor decided to shift the dates of her film to 15 August, Independence Day after Shah Rukh Khan spoke to Jeetendra, but only after she was assured that her films would get around 2000 screens across the country.
But then ‘Chennai Express’ got a bumper opening and reached a Rs 100 crores in the opening weekend itself. The producers couldn’t lessen their own screens when the film was doing so well.
Apparently Shobha Kapoor called up UTV, the producers of ‘Chennai Express’, where she was told that “it was Shah Rukh Khan’s decision.” Legendary actor Jeetendra then tried to step in.
Calls were made to Shah Rukh Khan but no one answered. Eventually an unknown voice answered saying that “Shah Rukh sir is busy with interviews.”
Because of this, ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaara’ was released in only 1600 screens nationally. A source says, “If UTV had lived up to its promise, OUATIMD could have raked in about Rs 10 crore more on its opening day which in turn might have had a Domino effect on its subsequent collections.”
So the question to ask is whether Shah Rukh Khan is the one playing games here? Apparently, Ekta Kapoor always wanted the Eid date – 8 August – for her film, but it was Shah Rukh Khan who later announced ‘Chennai Express’ would release on that day. Only after Shah Rukh Khan requested Ekta Kapoor through Jeetendra, did Ekta shift the release.
Even recently, Shah Rukh Khan wanted to watch ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaara’ at his private theater in his home Mannat. But Ekta Kapoor hadn’t given permission. (Read story here)
One might remember that this is not the first time Shah Rukh Khan is involved in such a clash. Last year, Ajay Devgn-starrer ‘Son Of Sardar’ and Shah Rukh Khan-starrer ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ released on Diwali, because of which both did lesser business than if they had a solo release. (Read story here)
Then in 2007 as well, director Farah Khan’s ‘Om Shanti Om’ clashed with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Saawariya’ which was Sonam Kapoor and Ranbir Kapoor’s debut. Relationships had soured between the two parties after that episode. Initially, Ajay Devgn’s film ‘Tezz’ and Aamir Khan’s ‘Talaash’ too were looking at a 26 January 2012 release date before both films had their release shifted.
In the near future, Prakash Jha’s ‘Satyagraha’ was to release on 15 August but once Ekta Kapoor shifted ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaara’ to that date, Satyagraha moved to a 23 August release. But with ‘Madras Cafe’ fixed for that day, ‘Satyagraha’ then finally settled for 30 August.
Dharma Productions also changed the release date of ‘Ungli’ so that it wouldn’t clash with ‘Phata Poster Nikhla Hero’ on 20 September. And it looks like this fight will never end. While Hrithik Roshan’s next titled’ Shuddhi’ by Dharma Productions has locked Diwali 2014, Farah Khan’s ‘Happy New Year’, starring Shah Rukh Khan, could come at the same time. Reportedly, Rohit Shetty’s next featuring Ajay Devgn ‘Singham 2’ too might clash with Akshay Kumar’s ‘Gabbar’ remake on Independence Day, 2014.
With so many films releasing, and the focus on opening weekend collections, it’s not surprising to see big stars spar over release dates. We hope people sit down together and talk, though, so that the audience can benefit from different types of movies at the cinema.