Current Bollywood release situation - Can we rethink please?

By Joginder Tuteja, Bollywood Hungama News Network

Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! and Sorry Bhai have released and as expected have opened to disappointing response all over. However, this time around, more than merits that these films are carrying, it is the release timing which has proved to be a stumbling block. Aftermath of Mumbai terrorist attack is being felt till this very moment and the last thing that a film fan would want to do, regardless of him being living in Mumbai or somewhere else in the country, is venture into a theatre and watch a movie.

This brings one to a question that what was the burning desire to release the two films this Friday. While The President Is Coming took a decision on Thursday itself and promptly announced its postponement to an indefinite day, Sorry Bhai and Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! continued to play the waiting game. The situation in Mumbai only worsened by Thursday evening and it was clear that multiplexes as well as single screen theaters would be most likely closed on Friday too.

However, after some anxious moments, the makers stuck to the plan and released the two films across rest of the country on Saturday. Says a source close to one of the films who wishes to be unnamed, "Amongst each other, we can only console the cast and crew of both the films. We know what we are getting into but we don't have a choice. The show timings have been booked and decision to dispatch the prints had to be taken in a hurry. Frankly, there was not much time available to give much sane thought into what to do. We had to go by the flow."

This has meant that while the movies did release across the country on Friday, Saturday saw the arrival in Mumbai as well. Still, that is not expected to help the collections much as people continue to be glued to their TV sets while flipping through news channels.

Says a prominent filmmaker who just delivered a box office hit, "It is just not the right time for a film to arrive. Howsoever grim and disappointing the situation is, the fact is that a common man is getting some live dose of action and it's aftermath on news channels for free. Why would he choose to go out with so much happening? With shocking disclosures being made and fear psychosis already in motion, who would venture into a multiplex? Even my film has been impacted but then I pity those filmmakers who have released their films this weekend while pretty much knowing that it is not going to work for them."

I personally feel that the makers could have chosen to release the films on a later day. Agree that shows had been booked and promotion had reached its peak but then this was a kind of situation when disaster management should have come into play. Why not ignore the effort that has gone into bringing a film till this stage and instead start looking at the situation afresh?

Yes, December would be bad for most of the projects since Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and Ghajini are confirmed for 12th Dec and 25th Dec respectively. But a Sorry Bhai and a OLLO deciding to choose one of these two weeks for release may not have been as catastrophic as now when, a) it is getting a patchy release and b) you are very well aware that no one is going to venture into a theater in such a troubled time.

There was also an option to come on 2nd January, the day on which no release has currently been planned for. Of course, there is this usual 'first week of the year being jinxed' theory but let's face it - if one looks at last 5-7 years, none of the films released in this period has been worthy enough to be successful in any case.

This brings one to the saying - 'Let the past be past and think about future'. And the future here is the release of five films on 5th December, i.e. coming Friday. Frankly, the situation is hardly expected to be rosy even then. Maharathi, Dil Kabaddi, Khallballi - Fun Unlimited, Oh, My God!!, Meerabai Not Out, Kaashh... Mere Hote and Gumnaam - The Mystery are the films currently confirmed for release on this date but the question that one ends up asking is, 'Would audience really care much for these movies when a) Situation is just getting back to normalcy and b) They would rather want to wait for a week more and then head straight for Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi?'

Of course most of the aforementioned films are in any case headed for 'let's get over it' kind of a release because of zero buzz around them but one especially feels for films like Maharathi and Khallballi - Fun Unlimited that do come with a genuine chance of becoming box office successes. While the former is a thriller, the latter is comedy and it would be quite unfortunate (just as has been in the case of Sorry Bhai and OLLO), if they get marred due to arrival at the wrong time.

People behind Sorry Bhai and OLLO didn't have much time to think but for the films arriving next weekend, there is good time to strategize and decide. The question is - 'Will they'?

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