Shah Rukh’s Raees v/s Hrithik’s Kaabil – Can Bollywood afford another clash after Ae Dil Hai Mushkil v/s Shivaay?


The verdict is out. Much hyped Diwali clash of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Shivaay has ended up impacting both the films. With the combined collections of both the films expected to close around Rs. 215 crore mark, it is hardly a good news since last year’s Diwali release Salman Khan’s Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, despite mixed word of mouth, had ended up netting Rs. 210 crore all by itself. The potential is clearly Rs. 300 crore with the number of screen that are now available (around 5000) but the two Cs – content and clash – have resulted in much lesser numbers.

Now that the content of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil or Shivaay would have allowed a collective business of Rs. 300 crore had the two films arrived separately. However, Rs. 250 crore was definitely on the cards. That accounts for ~25% of the business loss that both films faced.

Considering the fact that the next big clash is expected to take place on January 26 next year, one wonders whether Bollywood can indeed another clash!

Hrithik Roshan’s Kaabil was all set to arrive solo on the Republic Day weekend. The Rakesh Roshan production is continuing to maintain this stance ever since its release date was announced. However, continued movement of Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees and its eventual decision to arrive on the same date has turned out to be a spanner in the plan for all involved.

The issue is not just about Shah Rukh Khan v/s Hrithik Roshan. The issue is much larger, that of the industry which has seen its fortunes dip already in 2016. The last thing it needs is bloodshed right at the beginning of the year. In the times when Bollywood could well do with a much better success ratio, the fact remains that even if both films are at least reasonably well made, at least 25% loss is definitely on the cards.

Even if one gives a nod of approval to the rational of ‘the-film-which-announced-its-release-date-first-should-arrive-solo’, it is plain common sense that when two biggies arrive on the same date, audiences will get divided. Both Shah Rukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan are superstars and when they arrive with a film which plays to their strength, there is no stopping them. Their Diwale and Bang Bang may have seen mixed reviews but still, former (with Shah Rukh’s romantic image) went on to do close to Rs. 150 crore while latter (with Hrithik’s action image) did even better to cross the Rs. 175 crore mark. That tells the tale!

Hence, now that Hrithik is coming with Kaabil and Shah Rukh is coming with Raees, one just hopes that there is no clash whatsoever. One look at the promo of Kaabil and you know that Hrithik is pretty much in the ‘zone’ with this Sanjay Gupta directed affair, especially when compared against Mohenjo Daro. On the other hand Raees has seen much better buzz building it when compared to Shah Rukh Khan’s last Fan. As per insiders, the film is a fantastic entertainer.

No wonder, as an audience you want to watch both the films!

Unfortunately though, the situation is turning out to be the kind where one would be ‘forced’ to make a choice. Let the fact be stated – Gone are the days when you could say that if both films are good then they would do well even in a clash they would do terrific business. No sir, that doesn’t happen anymore. When pirated DVDs and online prints are available within 24 hours of a film arriving, for a viewing member a choice has already been made. In a good case scenario, one film would be seen in theatres. In the best case scenario, both would be seen. However, the ratio would be minimal in case of the latter.

However, pick up any patron and give him a choice to watch two films at a gap of two or more weeks and he would be glad to grab them both. Especially so, when you are talking about two major superstars in two of the most anticipated films of the year.

Issue is not about whether both films would enter the 100 crore club regardless of the clash. Of course, they will. However, why to curtail an opportunity to do even better? Why not aim for that scenario where both films could end up doing a combined business of 350-400 crore (or more) if they are spaced out by a couple of weeks?

More than anything else, it is needed for the sake of the industry!

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