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Diwali Firecrackers

Friday, October 28, 2016
By Deepa Gahlot

The last few weeks were taken up by the hullabullo over Pakistani actors working in Mumbai, causing Karan Johar, the producer-director of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil some unnecessary stress. This film and the other releasing with it, Ajay Devgan’s Shivaay, are bound to bring in a cheery Diwali for the industry. No films are flop-proof but there are some that are less likely to fail.

Looking for excuses to push their films, producers and marketers have started aiming at the festive seasons, Id, Diwali and Christmas. It doesn’t always happen that there is a clash between two major films, but when it happens, both benefit from the extra publicity, and also the audience’s comparatively mellow mood.

Afterwards, the audience hardly remembers what films were released the previous year at Diwali time!

Just as an exercise, a look at the Diwali bombs and damp squibs during the last five years. Last year, there was some buzz over Salman Khan greedily grabbing the Diwali slot too, along with his pre-booked Id release date. His Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (directed by Sooraj Kumar Barjatya), with its focus on traditional values and blingy costumes did well in terms of crores collected at the box-office, but wasn’t quite as appreciated as his other action films—in fact, satirists and stand-up comics had a field day blasting this desi Trading Places, with Salman Khan in a lead role, opposite Sonam Kapoor.

In 2014, Shah Rukh Khan ruled Diwali season, with Farah Khan’s heist caper, Happy New Year, co-starring Deepika Padukone and Abhishek Bachchan. Farah badly needed a big hit, and after Om Shanti Om, she got it. The film was loud outrageous and quite silly, but audiences were in a mood for splashy, mindless fun, and turned it into a blockbuster.

A year earlier, Krrish 3 and Hrithik Roshan dominated the box-office, tapping on kiddie and family audiences, who had liked the star’s earlier superhero roles. It was a solo release and quite expectedly went on to become a huge hit.

In 2012, Yash Chopra’s last film came out, to a very emotional response from fans, since it came out after he passed away. This one clashed with Ajay Devgan-starrer Son Of Sardaar (directed by Ashwini Dhir), which was meant for a more mass-y kind of audience.

In 2011 it was Shah Rukh Khan again, with the sci-fi flick Ra.One, which was universally panned, but SRK’s stardom carried it through the box-office with his stardom. Which is what usually happens—the stars shine bright, cinema not so much.

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