The Pulp Pit

Why Salman Khan and 'Tiger Zinda Hai' lot will secretly be happy at Padmavati's plight

Postponing the release date of Padmavati will not be a good idea in this age of piracy.

 |  The Pulp Pit  |  3-minute read |   04-11-2017
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The way things are, only one party stands to gain if Padmavati does not release on December 1, and that is neither the BJP nor the Congress.

As political outfits suddenly become concerned about Rajput pride ahead of Gujarat elections and stopping the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s latest extravagant indulgence becomes an unlikely poll pitch, have the makers of Tiger Zinda Hai found an impish reason to smile?

Yash Raj Films had booked Christmas 2017 for their upcoming Salman Khan-starrer Tiger Zinda Hai a long time ago. The spy thriller reuniting Salman with rumoured ex-flame Katrina Kaif is a sequel of the duo’s 2012 blockbuster Ek Tha Tiger. It was meant to be Bollywood’s gala year-end event of 2018.

Then Padmavati came in, with Bhansali confirming he would release his film on December 1 – three weeks before Tiger Zinda Hai.

The posh glitz of Padmavati, its heroine Deepika Padukone’s hypnotic grace in the promos, the hint of class about its music, the Khal Drogo-inspired swag about Ranveer Singh’s Alauddin Khilji, even the compounding controversy, suddenly made Padmavati a cinematic force that threatened to dwarf Tiger’s hype.

Not everything has been clockwork smooth for Salman this year, in any case. Tubelight, his only release, fared below expectation. Impact of the early promos of Tiger Zinda Hai has been far from spectacular. Neither Salman Khan, nor his much-hawked MG 42 machine gun or his on-screen reunion with Katrina has garnered desired buzz.

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So, even as Padmavati fends against the heat of protest, postponed release and even a possible ban, Salman’s movie faces the cold threat of being overshadowed by the sheer curiosity Bhansali’s film has generated.

Unless, of course, Padmavati is forced to shift to a 2018 release date.

Two Fridays in between separate Padmavati and Tiger Zinda Hai. Normally in such a scenario, if the first-released biggie — in this case, Padmavati — becomes a blockbuster, scoring at the box-office becomes an uphill task for the second one. Whenever two big films have released within a month of each other in recent years, it has invariably backfired for the second.

The Salman-Katrina thriller, it can be safely said, will keep its box-office date with Christmas, irrespective of Padmavati’s release. If Bhansali’s historic drama is postponed, Tiger Zinda Hai will have a couple of obvious advantages. It will be the first big Hindi film to hit the cineplexes since Golmaal Again!!! on Diwali — which would be over two months before Tiger Zinda Hai. Post-release, Salman’s film will get an open run for nearly a month. The next big name in line, Akshay Kumar, arrives with his new film Padman only on Republic Day 2018.

For Bhansali, postponing the release date is not a good idea in this age of piracy. If Padmavati is shifted from December, the earliest date it would settle for would probably be sometime during summer vacations 2018.

Summer weekends may or may not spell bigger box-office than a Friday in December. The bright side is the protestors will probably get bored by then and go away.

Also read: China's repeated betrayals on Masood Azhar show Pakistan's growing importance

Writer

Vinayak Chakravorty Vinayak Chakravorty @vinayak25

Film critic, Mail Today

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