Let’s get straight to the point. Bollywood just can’t afford two big films. Not yesterday, not today, not tomorrow. It is as simple as that. While the media is going berserk ‘worrying’ about whether Shahrukh Khan’s yet untitled film with Yash Chopra would indeed have competition from Ajay Devgn’s ‘Son of Sardar’ this Diwali, it seems nothing more than just a fantastical feeling to actually foresee this happening.
No, the clash is definitely not happening and if one would have to ask Shahrukh or Ajay about it, they would say the same. Well, under their breath at least if not out in open.
For all the claims of ‘two films can survive if released on the same day’ and ‘history has proven that as well’, let’s challenge the very thought process. Are we talking about ‘Dil’ and ‘Ghayal’? Well, that was 20 years back. Is ‘Gadar’ vs ‘Lagaan’ giving us that comfort feel? Please, Sunny Deol starrer did triple the business of Aamir Khan’s Oscar nominated masterpiece. As for those talking about the most recent clashes, ‘Taare Zameen Par’ pretty much got the scare of it’s life before finding it’s footing after a clash with Akshay Kumar’s ‘Welcome’. Today, even Aamir would say it was avoidable.
A clash was always an unwelcome situation. It stays on the same even today despite all the talks of multiplexes taking care of the collections. It doesn’t quite happen that way. Every producer, distributor, exhibitor, actor pines for an open week. Same holds good for audience as well. Unlike hardcore movie buffs or those from within the industry, no one watches two films over a single weekend. This means that after the first choice has been made, in all likelihood the ‘second choice’ would be viewed on a pirated DVD at home.
If the clash does take place, one movie would be the second choice this Diwali and eventually end up losing that revenue that could have come theatrically.
In case of Shahrukh and Ajay films, one of them will always be a second choice for many out there. It won’t be a straight forward choice, like say with an Akshay Kumar and an Akshaye Khanna solo starrer, where the choice (for majority) is obvious. We are talking about two superstars who have found a market of their own.
If there is a clash, there would be blood. And Bollywood can’t afford bloodshed.
My two cents on the situation? Let the film with a bigger (and more respected and revered) director occupy the Diwali slot. The (relatively) younger ones (like Shahrukh and Ajay) do have their chance to fight it out in the future. However, Yashji may or may not make a film for many more years to come.
The legend deserves that space, attention and respect at the least. He truly does!
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– Joginder Tuteja