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Problem of the many

Updated on: 28 February,2024 05:27 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Upala KBR |

With six small films lined up for March 1 release, trade says Laapataa Ladies will enjoy first preference; notes some may be token releases for subsequent OTT outing

Problem of the many

A still from Laapataa Ladies; Accident or Conspiracy: Godhra; Operation Valentine

Last weekend was crowded at the box office with Crakk— Jeetegaa Toh Jiyegaa, All India Rank and Article 370 hitting the marquee. But there’s more waiting in the wings. Six films are slated to release this Friday—director Kiran Rao’s Laapataa Ladies, Varun Tej’s Operation Valentine, Ranvir Shorey-led Accident or Conspiracy: Godhra, Rasika Dugal-starrer Fairy Folk, Bejoy Nambiar’s bilingual Dange, and Kaagaz 2 that was created by the late Satish Kaushik. Naturally then, it will be a fight for eyeballs.      


Trade analyst Taran Adarsh notes that while most are small films, Laapataa Ladies, a social comedy revolving around two new brides who are accidentally switched, has an advantage over the rest. Reason? Producer Aamir Khan, and Rao at the helm. “It’s attracting attention because of Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao reuniting after Dhobi Ghat [2011]. It also has a studio [Jio Studios] backing it. There are limited theatres, among which Fighter, Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya, Article 370 and Crakk [are vying for screens]. Laapataa Ladies will get preference, after which the remaining movies will be given screens. The problem is not for exhibitors, but for the common man, who doesn’t have the time or money to watch so many films. He’ll go for just one, as he knows the rest will release on OTT. So, [the filmmakers’] motive of being seen in theatres is lost,” he explains.


Kiran RaoKiran Rao


Exhibitor Akshaye Rathi, however, is optimistic. He points out small films can co-exist easily. “Across 9,200 cinemas, we can easily accommodate these films and the spillover. None is a big movie; instead, these will be driven by their content. Such movies don’t require showcasing in thousands of theatres.”

Each offering belongs to a different genre. While Operation Valentine is an action thriller based on the Pulwama attack and the subsequent Balakot air strike by the Indian Air Force, Accident or Conspiracy: Godhra traces the events surrounding the 2002 Godhra train burning. Meanwhile, Kaagaz 2, starring Anupam Kher and Anang Desai, is a drama about a father’s quest for justice after his daughter’s death. Quiz why so many films have booked the March 1 window when it doesn’t even offer an advantage of a holiday, and trade analyst Atul Mohan reasons, “There are only 52 Fridays in a year. When a big movie releases, many producers avoid a release the next week. Also, a theatrical release is a must today to get an OTT release. Some films may be seeking a token release for this purpose, while others do it to get subsidies from different states.”

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