Good Fortune Upon SRK’s Chennai Express

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Ekta Kapoor shifts release date of Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Again to Independence Day weekend, leaving the Eid weekend clear for Shah Rukh Khan and Rohit Shetty to dominate with Chennai Express.
Ekta Kapoor shifts release date of Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Again to Independence Day weekend, leaving the Eid weekend clear for Shah Rukh Khan and Rohit Shetty to dominate with Chennai Express.

MUMBAI: Rohit Shetty’s ‘Chennai Express’ has finally been given a green signal. Milan Luthria’s ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Again’, which was to release on Eid, 8 August 2013, the same day as ‘Chennai Express’, has now been shifted to Independence Day, 15 August 2013.

Reports say that the makers and stake holders of ‘Chennai Express’ approached Jeetendra, asking him to reconsider the release date of ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Again’ so as to avoid box office clashes. Jeetendra spoke to Ekta Kapoor and the Balaji team which finally decided to shift the release dates.

What does this mean for ‘Chennai Express’? Although Eid is usually Salman Khan’s bastion, this year is booked by Shah Rukh Khan for his first collaboration with blockbuster filmmaker Rohit Shetty. Interest is high for ‘Chennai Express’ which will see Shah Rukh khan in an action hero avatar taking him away from his romantic hero roles. Now ‘Chennai Express’ gets one whole week at the box office by itself.

On the other hand, ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Again’ is the sequel to the successful Ajay Devgn starrer ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai’, the 2010 crime gangster film set in the seventies. This time around, Akshay Kumar will be fictionalising gangster Dawood Ibrahim in the film set in the eighties.

Clearly, both ‘Chennai Express’ and ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Again’ are targeting different audiences. But it is true that had these films released on the same day, one film would eat into the profits of the other. Shah Rukh Khan usually tends to win such battles; who can forget ‘Om Shanti Om’ thrashing ‘Saawariya’ at the box office? Perhaps it is a wise decision for Ekta Kapoor to shift the dates of ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Again’ to 15 August where it will face competition only from Subhash Ghai’s ‘Kaanchi’ which stars Rishi Kapoor, Mithun Chakraborty and newcomer Mishti.

We reached out to Ekta Kapoor and Rohit Shetty, but they were unavailable to comment. We hope that this change in release date brings some good fortune upon both these eagerly awaited films.