Diwali has come early to theatres this year, riding on Hollywood and Bond. With Skyfall releasing almost a fortnight before D-day, and other mega movies following suit, Bollywood just has two offerings to take on the competition—Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Son of Sardaar
Promoting Jab Tak Hai Jaan, which is set for a Diwali release, Shah Rukh Khan was seen in the classic James Bond gun pose. And yes, Diwali has come early to Bollywood, riding on Hollywood and Bond. Daniel Craig as James Bond in Sony Pictures’ Skyfall opened on November 1, eight days ahead of the US release, with 907 prints, in English and dubbed in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. For Hollywood in India, this is the second largest release after Spiderman 3, but the largest release for a non-3D film.
Industry analysts say, what’s interesting is that Sony decided to release the film ahead of the US and thus got a clear 12 days before the two big Bollywood releases—Yash Raj Films’ Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Viacom 18’s Son of Sardaar, starring Ajay Devgn. Both films are slated to open wide, but neither wanted to comment on the number of screens/ prints. Industry sources say while the SRK film would open in 2,700 screens, Devgn’s film would open in 1,500 screens. The emotional connect withJab Tak Hai Jaan, says one distributor, increased after the demise of Yash Chopra, and exhibitors might want to cash in on that, a point which hasn’t gone down well with Ajay Devgn Films, which sent a legal notice to Yash Raj Films as to why it should get more screens than Son of Sardaar.
Says Rudrarup Datta, head of marketing and operations, Viacom18 Motion Pictures, “Son of Sardaar is an out and out family entertainer and the perfect Diwali film. The promos of the film have been loved by the audiences and the songs are already chartbusters. The release plan will be befitting to the scale and size of the film and be in line with the biggest releases of the year.” Rafiq Gangjee, VP, marketing and communications, at Yash Raj Films says it’s too early “even for a guesstimate, but we are looking at an extensive release”.
This year, the biggest releases of Bollywood, from UTV’s Rowdy Rathode and Barfee to Yash Raj Films’ Ek Tha Tiger, released in 2,000- plus screens. India has 10,000-plus screens, including single and multiplex screens.