Diwali, the festival of lights, is an auspicious time as per the Hindu calendar. For Bollywood too, it has been a profitable time as most of the films released during Diwali have worked big time over the years. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, Mohabbatein, Veer-Zaara, Garam Masala, Don, Om Shanti Om, Golmaal Returns, Golmaal 3 etc. are some of the films released during Diwali and did great business at the box office.
But things have slightly changed since a few years. Krrish 3, one of the biggest films of 2013, was scheduled to release during Diwali. However, Diwali was on November 3 that year which fell on a Sunday. Hence, it had to release on Friday November 1. This was the pre-Diwali period, considered very dull from business point of view. Also, the Diwali day is when the audiences stay away from theatres as they are busy with laxmi puja. So the first three days for Krrish 3 comprising of weekend was not that great. Reports were floating around that audiences are not happy with the film and that the film won’t be able to score on Monday, November 4, the New Year holiday when the audiences come out in hordes to cinemas. The Roshans were really tensed then as per reports. Thankfully for the makers, the audiences showed full support to the film on Monday. It collected a mind boggling Rs. 35.91 cr which was the highest single-day figure ever for a Hindi film at that point.
But the industry realized at that point that releasing a film on the day of Diwali can be a risky idea. The collections won’t be huge anyways as a sizeable section of audiences would be busy with festivities. Also, if the film’s response is not great, it can spread like wild fire in today’s times and audiences might not come from the profitable Day 2. Krrish 3 survived but other films might not, was the argument put forward. As a result, a year after Krrish 3’s release, the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Happy New Year was the Diwali release in 2014 but it didn’t release on Diwali day – Thursday, October 23. It instead released on Friday, October 24. And the decision paid off – Happy New Year opened at Rs. 44.97 cr which was a record of sorts that stunned one and all. The same story repeated in 2015. Instead of Wednesday November 11, the Salman Khan-starrer Prem Ratan Dhan Payo opened on Thursday November 12 and had a mind-boggling opening of Rs. 40.35 cr.
In 2016 however, Diwali again fell on Sunday (October 30) just like 2013. And yet again, the Diwali releases – Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Shivaay – had to release during the pre-Diwali time, on Friday, October 28. But thankfully, both films excelled at the box office, after collections went on a high from Day 4, and impressed its target audiences.
This year, Golmaal Again is the big Diwali release while the festival of lights is on Thursday October 19. And as expected, this comic caper would hit theatres only on Friday, October 20. And just like Happy New Year and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, even Golmaal Again is expected to open huge and emerge as Ajay Devgn’s biggest opening day grosser.
But the other Diwali release, Secret Superstar, is not going to follow this herd mentality. Produced by Aamir Khan, this Zaira Wasim starrer will release on October 19. And this move will surely benefit the film. It’s a small-budget flick that’s anyways not going to attract audiences in hordes across the country. So there’s no way it will have a record-breaking opening; it can afford to have a not-so-great opening. Therefore, it can release on the Diwali day and hopefully manage to have a good word of mouth. And this can help the film when the audiences will finally come out on October 20. In the past, many such small-budget high-concept films like Queen, Hindi Medium, Bareilly Ki Barfi etc didn’t open well but succeeded at the box office after the word of mouth came out and tempted the viewers.
Interestingly, next year too, it’s an Aamir Khan film that’s going to arrive on Diwali – Thugs Of Hindostan. And despite being a very big and grand film, it’s releasing on Diwali Day (Wednesday, November 7) as per its producers, Yash Raj Films. Such a move shows that the makers are confident of their product. It also goes well with Aamir’s image of going against the tide – whether it’s airing his TV shows on Sunday morning (when the other stars were targeting the prime time evening slots for their reality shows) or now, releasing the film on the auspicious day of Diwali just like the good old days!