The year 2016 is definitely witnessing some of the best horn locks in terms of Bollywood. First it was Ajay Devgn’s Shivaay Vs karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (ADHM) and now the most awaited Shah Rukh Khan movie Raees and Hrithik Roshan starrer Kaabil directed by Sanjay Gupta. With both Shivaay and ADHM gathered sufficient negative reviews besides doing middling business at the box office.
The year is yet to witness another clash of the titans with the release of Kaabil and Raees. Let is visit what strategy would work best for the two bollywood biggies.
According to a leading exhibitor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the distributor of Raees have entered into agreement with screen exhibitors making it mandatory to exhibit the film in all four showson the eve of Republic Day,”A number of single screen theatres inadvertently fell into the trap because of pressure tactics. Also, let’s not forget that Raees is a Shah Rukh Khan film and he goes all out to woo exhibitors and ensure that he blocks a majority of theatres. He did it during the release of his last few films, too.”
Mumbai distributor, Ramesh Sippy, who recently acquired Kaabil for the territory of Mumbai (Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Gujarat), confirms, “It is not a deal but the distributors of Raees pressurised a section of exhibitors with a promise that they would not get future films, particularly the second installment of Baahubali, if they do not screen Raees in all the four shows. Baahubali 2 has been used as a bait to pressurise exhibitors to sign Raees in the maximum number of shows.”
As per Sippy, this kind of “arm-twisting” is now being witnessed every time two big films come up for release, “There is an effort to block the maximum number of theatres. The exhibitors who have signed up are not quite coming out in the open. Either way, ultimately, the merits of the two films will speak for themselves.” he said.
Sippy also said that these kind of clashes are bad for business and prevent big films from exploring their full potential, “Dividing the audience is not good for the two films. Both will lose their audiences,” he says, adding that he would have been happier if Kaabil was scheduled for a solo release, “It is the kind of film that is likely to take the box-office by storm, with the role that Hrithik has in it,” he says.
Rakesh Roshan who is also the producer of kaabil feels that the clash of the two films could have been avoided, but it now looks like inevitable, “I had announced the film last year in February and if somebody else is coming on that date, it is not ethical and not my fault. It is absolutely unethical to come on somebody else’s date. It not only plays havoc with the chain of theatres, but is bad for the producers, distributors and exhibitors as well. If anything, the people involved are only gaining in terms of their ego. After that, they will be repentant for the rest of their lives as to why they did this,” he says.