Coming December 18 2015 the déjà vu of 2007 Diwali haunts again. SRK’s magnum opus OM SHANTI OM clashed with Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor’s debut SAAWARIYA helmed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Farah Khan helmed OSO – inspired from Subash Ghai’s KARZ, Dilip Kumar starrer Madhumati and other Manmohan Desai’s lost and found Bollywood masala went on to become a blockbuster while SLB’s SAAWARIYA based on Fyodor Dostoevsky's short story WHITE NIGHTS made in a Bollywood broadway musical style turned out to be a dud. However, it successfully established Ranbir Kapoor as the new heartthrob of Bollywood and he still rules.
The eight year old clash which popped some ugly spats between SRK and Bhansali gave a dirty picture of B-town level of competition, acceptance, insecurity and tolerance. Starting with SRK who said he will ‘destroy’ the competition, (read SAAWARIYA), Bhansali shot back with a vengeance, saying SRK has no right to destroy the work of 150 people”. It didn’t stop here. The miffed Bhansali went on and on success of OSO. He was reportedly quoted as saying, “I feel that acting is not about six-packs. It's time for new cinema, cricketers, and politicians. Let the newcomers like Ranbir come in. Shah Rukh Khan will remain a king. Just because people love (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni, it doesn't mean they will forget Sachin (Tendulkar).”
In 2007 superstar SRK’s OSO introducing Deepika Padukone released along with new comers Ranbir and Sonam SAAWARIYA. Eight years later today in 2015 both SRK and Bhansali are clashing with their ambitious DILWALE and BAJIRAO MASTANI.
Bhansali has a more level field this time BAJIRAO MASTANI stars real and reel life couple and heartthrobs Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone with Priyanka Chopra adding more star value. The movie is not an experimental project like SAAWARIYA. The period costume drama BAJIRAO MASTANI is an a la Bhansali royal dish of cinema served with the best available grandiosity, scale, color and beauty. The promoters are keeping no stone upturned to make it as big as it gets – the recent events are a signal of their mammoth promotion plans.
SRK’s home productions ambitious DILWALE features King Khan with his all-time favourite Kajol along with Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon, in this Rohit Shetty directorial venture. Rohit Shetty since 2008 is enjoying an unbeatable track record of success. DILWALE has managed to keep the buzz intact right from the word go and its latest released video is a well calculated plan to target the family audience – SRK’s strong base.
With heartthrob Varun Dhawan also adding to the star value with HEROPANTI fame Kirti Sanon chipping in with added star appeal DILWALE and its makers are targeting the lovers of feel good family romancers from the world.
Considering the fact that cine goers many times keep their preference a secret till Friday, it is difficult to say who has the edge right now. Whether both the films will be affected by the clash will be a thing that needs to be seen. We hope that the ugly picture of spats doesn’t get repeated again.
On a positive note SRK believes that both DILWALE and BAJIRAO MASTANI will do well in the festive season but somewhere King Khan also believes that the audience might get divided. Gossip mills are busy with stories of SRK find and favourite Deepika calling him to postponed DILWALE, Priyanka calling the clash as ‘unfortunate’ and Bhansali on the other hand claiming that he announced the release date of BAJIRAO MASTANI first..
One thing is clear - the growing commercialization and multiple screening options are encouraging more greed which cuts competition in its need to grab more and more screen. It won’t be a surprise if we hear stories of arm twisting tactics and not getting enough screens by opposite parties in this clash. Considering the involvement of major production house like Eros and Red Chilies, the race for maximum screen space will be unavoidable.
The actors makers may in public wish good luck and hope for an equal share but in reality everybody will want his/her movie to run and earn more.. There won’t be an ugly spat but healthy competition doesn’t seems to be a guarantee in near future..