Is it going to be Shah Rukh Khan or Hrithik Roshan for you next week when, breaking the traditional Friday release-pattern, both the eagerly-awaited films release on Wednesday evening. Here are 5 reasons why Raees and Kaabil are a battle between equals.
1. Hrithik versus Shah Rukh: From the time he came into the industry, Hrithik Roshan has been Shah Rukh's greatest challenger. Now, for the first time, they are being directly pitched against one another. Both stand an equal chance of scoring at the box-office. Both need a hit, what with their 2016 releases underperforming at the box-office.
2. First time directors for both: Shah Rukh Khan has worked with Rahul Dholakia for the first time in Raees. Hrithik Roshan, too, has never worked with Sanjay Gupta before. Expect freshness in the collaborative spirit this Wednesday.
3. Virgin-fresh pairing: If Hrithik Roshan has never worked Yami Gautam before; Shah Rukh Khan is unlikely to work with Mahira Khan again. So just savour the impermanence of the pair. But be warned- neither of the two leading ladies have much to do. This Republic Day, it's the heroes' show all the way.
4. Stunt Front: But, there's one thing that pitches Raees against Kaabil is the high-velocity action. Both films contain a heightened level of action scenes, stylishly shot, but integral to the film's fabric, so that we are watching not men battling with fists and firearms, but a war that wages from deep within the hero and makes its way to the outside world in a rush of aggression. The action is so internalized it implodes with tension.
5. Very different beasts: Raees and Kaabil are as different as chalk and cheese. One is set in a decade that's over; the other is set in contemporary times. While Raees is the story of a liquor baron, Kaabil tells the saga of a blind man insanely in love. Both have the potential to be huge blockbusters. This could well be an encore of the Gadar-Lagaan week at the box-office.