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Last Updated 14.07.2024 | 9:00 PM IST



Throwback: When Bollywood ‘forgot’ to release big films on Diwali between 2001-2003; 3 B-grade erotic films were the GRAND Diwali releases in 2001!

en Bollywood News Throwback: When Bollywood ‘forgot’ to release big films on Diwali between 2001-2003; 3 B-grade erotic films were the GRAND Diwali releases in 2001!

Having a big release on Ramzan Eid and Christmas is a recent phenomenon. But biggies arriving in cinemas with a bang has been a very old tradition. Some of the biggest hits like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Bade Miyan Chote Miyan (1998), Hum Saath Saath Hain (1999), Mohabbatein (2000), Mission Kashmir (2000) etc were released on or around the Festival of Lights. Hence, it’ll be a surprise for readers to know that the Bollywood industry, for some inexplicable reason, didn’t have a major film release on Diwali in the years 2001, 2002 and 2003. In fact, three soft porn films were the grand Diwali releases in 2001!

2001: Pre-Diwali Friday

Throwback: When Bollywood ‘forgot’ to release big films on Diwali between 2001-2003; 3 B-grade erotic films were the GRAND Diwali releases in 2001!

In the year 2001, Diwali fell on Wednesday, November 14. Friday, November 9 saw the release of three B-grade erotic films. Two films had the word ‘Maut’ in their titles – Maut Ka Khel and Maut Ki Haveli. The third release was Kaam Granth. As expected, all these films were failures. Interestingly, on Dussehra 2001, Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Asoka and Sunny Deol-starrer Indian had released. These films were in Week 3 during Diwali and did huge business and this applies even to Asoka, which was a flop at the box office.

2001: Post-Diwali Friday

Some respectable A-grade films arrived in theatres on Bhaidooj holiday on Friday, November 16. These films were Arjun Rampal and Dia Mirza’s romance action entertainer Deewaanapan, Ajay Devgn-Sonali Bendre’s drama Tera Mera Saath Rahen, Jimmy Sheirgill-Ameesha Patel’s romance drama Yeh Zindagi Ka Safar and Abhay, a dubbed Tamil film starring Kamal Haasan. Sadly, none of them were exciting and got mixed-to-negative reviews. Deewaanapan grossed the maximum due to the mass and youth element. But the lifetime collections were just Rs. 5.10 crores, equivalent to around Rs. 31 crores today.


2002 Diwali was slightly better though the films were nowhere close to being ideal Diwali releases. Jeena Sirf Merre Liye was the biggest of the lot as it brought back Tusshar Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor and producer Vashu Bhagnani after the super-hit film, Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai (2001). Sadly, it failed to entice. Govinda’s comedy Waah! Tera Kya Kehna, Sanjay Dutt-Suniel Shetty’s actioner Annarth and the art cinema Leela, starring Dimple Kapadia and Dino Morea, were also released on November 1, 2002 and were declared disasters. Diwali fell on Monday, November 4 and the post-Diwali day, November 5 saw the release of Rajshri’s Hum Pyar Tumhi Se Kar Baithe, starring Jugal Hansraj. But due to negative reports and negligible publicity, it was a washout.

Interestingly, Deewangee had released in pre-Diwali week, on October 25 and it was the first choice for moviegoers on the festival. Despite good word of mouth, it was a below average grosser at the ticket window.


Diwali, in 2003, was celebrated on Saturday, October 25. On October 24, 4 films were released – Samrat Prithviraj (2022) director Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi’s Pinjar, Govinda’s comic caper Raja Bhaiya, Dino Morea-Tanishaa Mukjerji’s horror Sssshhh and Vikram Bhatt’s thriller Inteha. The last three films flopped due to unexciting promos and negative reports. Pinjar, starring Urmila Matondkar and Manoj Bajpayee got rave reviews but was too niche and arthouse for regular moviegoers. Hence, it was given the verdict of a Disaster and the same applied to Raja Bhaiya and Inteha. Sssshhh was given the flop status.

What’s strange is that in 2003, big films like Kal Ho Naa Ho, Baghban and Koi Mil Gaya were released on non-holidays and these movies would have made for ideal Diwali releases.

Experts analyse

Raj Bansal, the owner of Entertainment Paradise in Jaipur, agreed that “Yeh ajeeb baat hai” when informed about the 2001 Diwali B-grade releases and also that Asoka and Indian had released on Dussehra. He, however, added, “Sometimes, films were scheduled for a particular day but would get postponed if those films didn’t get ready on time. That should be the only reason.”

An industry expert commented, “The holy month of Ramzan was going on during the festival of Diwali in the years 2001, 2002 and 2003. Hence, filmmakers shied away from releasing their big films.”

Raj Bansal, however, disagreed with this notion. An exhibitor on condition of anonymity also said, “I don’t agree. You can’t let a big festival go waste and release soft porn films on Diwali. This was also a time when filmmakers avoided releasing films during the ‘shraddh’ period. Yet, in 2002, for example, Shakti - The Power, starring Karisma Kapoor and featuring Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai in cameos, had hit the theatres during 'shraddh'. Hence, its bewildering our filmmakers chose to not release something better on Diwali for these three years.”

Thankfully, the situation normalized from 2004. That year saw as many as four films hitting theatres on Diwali – Veer-Zaara, Aitraaz, Naach and coloured version of Mughal-E-Azam. And from hereon, the festival has always seen fireworks at the ticket window.

Also Read: Diwali 2022 - From Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham to Chachi 420, 4 Bollywood films that show the essence of Diwali


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