Till a few years ago, the Diwali week as also the two-month summer vacations [mid-April to mid-June] were considered the most bountiful period for
movie business. The Idd week became equally prominent and now, film-makers are keen that they encash during the Christmas festivities.
The forthcoming weekend is no ordinary weekend. Two major producers have placed their respective ambitious ventures on this date [WELCOME,
TAARE ZAMEEN PAR]. It makes wise business sense too, since this isnâ€™t a 3-day weekend, but a 5-day weekend. Friday is Idd, Saturday and Sunday
are holidays, Monday isnâ€™t a holiday, but Tuesday [Christmas] is, which means people would take it easy on Monday, a day preceding Christmas.
A 5-day weekend is a rarity and one expects the business to be optimum during this period. Both WELCOME and TAARE ZAMEEN PAR look exciting
and with A-list stars dominating the cast of these two films, I expect a repeat of the Diwali weekend, with both OM SHANTI OM and SAAWARIYA
opening to packed houses in the opening weekend.
The best part of this â€˜clashâ€™ is that the two films belong to diverse genres. And avid moviegoers would definitely watch both.
The pre-Christmas lull continued to spell havoc. The sole Hindi release last Friday, STRANGERS, opened to almost empty houses across the nation.
Frankly, it didnâ€™t come as a surprise to me. A lot of people werenâ€™t even aware that a film called STRANGERS had hit the marquee. And those aware of
the film werenâ€™t excited.
â€œIs it an English film?â€ a prominent U.P. exhibitor asked me, a few days prior to its release. What added to the confusion was STRANGERS being
listed in the category of â€˜English filmsâ€™, not â€˜Hindi filmsâ€™ in newspapers, even after its release. Yes, you read that right -- something that its director
Aanand Rai also lamented, post release.
STRANGERS caters to a miniscule section of moviegoers, but a not-too-motivating star cast as also the low-key promotion made the effort go
unnoticed. The film opened to below 10% response and faded into oblivion as days progressed.