Bollywood filmmakers have decided to steer clear of releasing their films on coming Friday, May 16, the day the country will be hooked to the television screens to keep a tab on the results of the 16th Lok Sabha polls.
So much so that barring the Himesh Reshammiya-starrer, The Xposé and a kid's animation flick, Mighty Raju Rio Calling, the rest of the releases - Godzilla and Fading Gigolo - are all from Hollywood.
All other Hindi filmmakers have pushed their films’ release to a later date to avoid releasing their films on a day when business is expected to be poor.
Actor Jackie Shroff's son Tiger Shroff's debut film Heropanti's release, too, was pushed from May 16 to May 23 for this reason. “We had initially planned to release the film on May 16, but since it is a counting day, we have decided to push the film ahead to May 23," Sajid Nadiadwala was quoted saying to a Mumbai tabloid.
Industry expert and trade analyst Atul Mohan feels that films releasing on this day might not get the desired footfalls in theatres and that’s the reason filmmakers have avoided this date. "It’s a very big day for India, and even people who are otherwise not interested in politics will be glued to television to keep a track on who is winning where,” says Mohan.
Agrees Girish Johar, head of distribution and acquisition of Sahara Movie Studios. “Everybody, including the entire media will be focusing on the election results on May 16… in fact the whole world’s eye would be on our new government so film promotions will also take a backseat, and that’s the reason why Hindi film producers also feel that it’s too much of a risk to take to release their films on a day when the focus is clearly not films,” says Johar.
For Reshammiya, however, the ongoing T20 cricket league is a bigger threat so he doesn’t mind a lukewarm business on Day one, and is hopeful that business will surely pickup eventually for his film, The Xpose.
“Election results is just one day so yes, may be we will have a slow start, which is okay. But between May 16-23 there’s only one (T20) match, while the eight crucial knockout matches are all after May 23, so it’s better we release our film before that,” says the singer-turned-actor, adding, “Plus we are also at an advantage because ours will be a solo (Hindi) release on May 16."