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Pre-Diwali blues

Trade analysts maintain that the two weeks prior to the festival are always dull

Yesterday was yet another Friday that saw a flurry of releases, with five Hindi and three English films. Call it the storm before the lull because there's only one Bollywood film opening in the theatres next week.

Nonetheless, this lull at the box-office is there only till Diwali, when cinemas will be hit by the next storm, in the form of Shah Rukh Khan's RA.One, enthuse trade experts.



Komal Nahta attributes multi-releases this weekend to absence of star value in the movies. "These films don't want to oppose big films featuring big stars.

So they think it's better to release at this time," he observes, however pointing out that this strategy isn't working for the makers of such economically budgeted movies.

Besides, families are busy making preparations for Diwali, asserts Nahta. "People are getting their homes done up, shopping and making other preparations for the festival. So they're too preoccupied to see films 10-15 days before Diwali," he explains.

In the same vein, Amod Mehra, another trade analyst, observes that producers know they don't stand much of a chance at the box-office.

"Yet they release their films in this time, despite the pre-Diwali period considered to be the worst time of the year for movies," he states, quickly adding that they do so out of no choice.

"They can't compete with big films, so they compete with each other, and end up hurting themselves. Because they don't get more than three shows," he shrugs.

While Mehra is awaiting RA.One, Nahta feels that only Mujhse Fraaaandship Karoge has potential. "Its opening ranges from 15 to 25 per cent occupancy across India. So I expect it to pick up," he states, adding that others like My Friend Pinto, Mod, Aazaan and Jo Dooba So Pyaar - It's Love In Bihar, don't stand a chance.

Conceding that the last couple of weeks have been crowded with releases, Ashish Saksena, COO, Big Cinemas, attributes it to a week's deferment of Mausam. "Since Mausam got pushed by a week, that week got wasted. If a couple of producers had rescheduled, then some films would have released next Friday," he observes.

Remind him of the popular belief that films released during pre-Diwali weeks don't fare well and Saksena argues that there's another way of looking at the situation.
 
"Jab We Met came at a time not considered favourable for releases. Deewangee has also worked at a time considered dangerous for a release.

Titanic came out at a time that was considered one of the worst times to release a movie," he points out, asserting that a good film promoted well is sure to work. "Crowding releases is not required," he concludes.

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