As several states consider extending lockdown, trade analysts discuss how Bollywood will have to rejig release calendar; point out Sooryavanshi, 83, Radhe may not hit cinemas until international markets open.
With the lockdown likely to be extended in several states, many Bollywood producers are scurrying back to the calendar, in the hope of finding a favourable release window for their films. Akshay Kumar’s Sooryavanshi and Ranveer Singh’s 83, which were originally slated to release on March 24 and April 10 respectively, are two ambitious ventures waiting in the wings. For the first time in several years, Salman Khan might miss his Eid date with his fans.
Trade analyst Komal Nahata says, “Salman’s Radhe has yet to wrap up shooting whereas post-production work is left on Sooryavanshi and Laxmmi Bomb. So, all these releases will be have to be shifted.”
While Sooryavanshi director Rohit Shetty recently indicated that his cop caper will hit theatres as soon as they re-open, trade analyst Taran Adarsh points out that several factors will go into deciding the India release of a big-ticket project. “One can’t decide the release strategy of any movie right now because the big films will also have to look at the international markets. Countries like the UK, US, New Zealand, and the Gulf region serve as important markets for Hindi movies. So until they get back to normalcy, a big release [seems unlikely].”
In such a scenario, will the mega-budget vehicles eye festival weekends — say Independence Day or Diwali — to be assured of higher footfalls? The possibility seems bleak as it will result in box-office clashes. A source close to Yash Raj Films reveals, “Prithviraj, which is slated for Diwali, will be ready in time for its November release.” Similarly, Ajay Devgn’s Bhuj: The Pride of India is expected to meet its August deadline.
Nahata hints that the industry will have to adopt a wait-and-watch approach as he states, “One cannot be sure what is coming on Independence Day or Diwali till the lockdown is lifted.”
On the bright side, the offerings slated to release in the last quarter of 2020 — including Brahmastra and Aamir Khan’s Laal Singh Chaddha — seem poised to meet their deadlines. Amit Sharma, director of Devgn-starrer Maidaan, says, “Some portions of the film have yet to be shot. But, as of now, we are coming on December 11.”