‘Dilwale’ vs ‘Bajirao Mastani’: Box office mess or win-win game?

New Delhi, Dec 17 (IANS) Big budgets. Big directors. Big stars. With “Dilwale” and “Bajirao Mastani”, both much-awaited Bollywood cinematic extravaganzas, releasing together on Friday, industry experts believe the clash will have a strong impact on the overall collections of the year. However, it’s best not to expect a new record!

“Clashes are obviously not great,” superstar Shah Rukh Khan, actor-producer of “Dilwale”, told IANS.

SRK’s movies usually have record-breaking number of screens, but for “Dilwale”, he says he has only about 50 percent of them. He knows that his new movie “cannot” break records.

“There is another film releasing with our film, so we are not expecting an opening weekend record. But it’s a working weekday businesswise. Had it released on December 25, it would have been different as it would have been a holiday and there would have been 20-30 percent more business,” he said.

“But December 18 is a normal working day with two films releasing. I don’t think any of the films will have an opening record as such.”

“But I think there is a lot of breathing space for both the films as there are no big movies releasing for the next few weeks,” Shah Rukh said, adding that he is happy with the “fantastic advance bookings” for “Dilwale”, which is directed by Rohit Shetty.

The movie has all elements of an “in-the-face” commercial Bollywood entertainer laced with action, rib-tickling comedy, fresh pairing of Kriti Sanon and Varun Dhawan, the loved ‘jodi’ of Kajol-SRK, and scenic landscapes of Bulgaria, Iceland and Goa.

This is pitted against “Bajirao Mastani”. A quintessentially Sanjay Leela Bhansali film, this one promises to be an intense visual cinematic treat showcasing snippets from the past, with battle scenes, costumes exuding a historical feel, and palatial sets.

The hype around the film is more because of the pairing of Ranveer and Deepika — Bollywood’s rumoured couple — who created ripples with their chemistry in “Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela”.

The film also stars ‘desi’ girl Priyanka Chopra, who believes both “Dilwale” and “Bajirao Mastani” are “beautiful and different kind of films” made by “two prolific filmmakers”.

The business of both films is sure to be affected, says Delhi-based film distributor Joginder Mahajan.

“Both the films will undoubtedly have a great impact on the overall box office of 2015. However, as they are releasing together, screens would be divided and their business will get affected,” Mahajan told IANS.

“The profit of both the films will get divided. There was no big film released on December 11. Also, there is no film releasing on Christmas Day and January 1, 2016. So, this is a losing situation for both the films. Clashes at box office have always produced loss,” Mahajan said.

The budget of both films is also well over Rs.100 crore. Both the films have strong content and heavy distribution costs.

But as Mahajan pointed out, “‘Bajirao Mastani’ will have more screens than ‘Dilwale’ as Eros registered the date in March last year only. Right now we can only hope that both the films should cover their budget costs as they have been made with Rs.100 crore-plus budgets.”

The distributors are hopeful of striking gold somehow.

Prashant Tiwari, chairman, Prateek Group, which is distributing “Dilwale” in Delhi, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, told IANS: “When you choose a territory for releasing a film, the major criterion for consideration is the business potential of a film in that region.”

“We were confident that ‘Dilwale’ will do well in north India, especially since we have the prime territory of national capital with us. We are likewise expecting record breaking collections at the box office.”

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