Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Chennai Express, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone, is coming out for Eid. Courtesy UTV Motion PIctures
Chennai Express, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone, is coming out for Eid. Courtesy UTV Motion PIctures

Competition for a big holiday release can only get more intense, as Chennai Express shows

Chennai Express is the greatly anticipated Eid release from Bollywood, and it is expected to break some major records.

“We have these holiday-period films, where the idea is to attract an audience from ages 7 to 10 and give them all a good time. Chennai Express falls into that genre,” says Shah Rukh Khan. “We want people to have a great laugh, witness great songs and to deliver great family entertainment.”

Eid has become a prime release date for Bollywood films. Last year, Ek Tha Tiger was released on Eid and the Salman Khan film became the second-highest grossing Indian film of all time, taking US$52 million (Dh191m) at the worldwide box office. So it is no surprise that everyone wants to open for Eid again. Earlier this year, both Chennai Express and the sequel Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Dobaara! declared their intention to open for Eid.

It was Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Dobaara! that blinked first, deciding to delay its release by a week. It was a decision that delighted the producer of Chennai Express, Siddharth Roy Kapur, who is also the head of UTV motion pictures. “When two films come out on the same day, there is always a chance of one eating into the other’s revenue,” says Kapur. “So of course it’s great for us to have a solo release.”

In Bollywood, there are constant rumours of stars and producers doing deals with each other behind closed doors to guarantee release dates. One rumour doing the rounds earlier this year was that Shah Rukh Khan had demanded his own film be moved from the Eid slot. Kapur says it’s inevitable that the battle to release on key dates will intensify.

“It’s a free market, anyone is entitled to come out on any day they want to,” he says. “We have seen clashes in the past where there have been two or more films coming out for Diwali, Christmas, Eid, Republic Day and even Independence Day. National holidays have always been big for releases and considering the number of films that come out every year, it’s inevitable that we will be vying with each other for one of those great dates. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. Audiences are keen to watch three movies, or at least two during holidays.”

Khan is more used to seeing his films released on Diwali, a point noted by his co-star Deepika Padukone. “Om Shanti Om was a Diwali release and Shah Rukh in a sense has owned Diwali. As an actor, the date of release makes very little difference to the job that we do. Of course, I think from a producer’s point of view, these things make sense, so if you ask Shah Rukh or Siddharth, they will tell you that it’s important to have a holiday release.”

Since Disney bought UTV in 2006, there has been a noticeable shift in release strategies, as Indian companies increasingly copy the American model. Films are being packaged and designed to maximise audiences for specific events. Kapur says Chennai Express was attractive to release for Eid because “Shah Rukh Khan and the director Rohit Shetty are a combination who haven’t worked with each other before. Their audience is not mutually exclusive, but between them, they cover a big spectrum worldwide.”

If Chennai Express breaks records, expect the competition to open for Eid to be even fiercer next year.

artslife@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @LifeNationalUAE

And follow us on Facebook for discussions, entertainment, reviews, wellness and news.

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Hajer Almosleh, the winner of the last year's short story competition, at her home in Dubai. Duncan Chard for the National

Get involved with The National’s short-story competition

Writers have two weeks to craft a winning submission, under the title and theme "The Turning Point".

 It is believed that the desert-like planet of Tatooine is being recreated for Star Wars: Episode VII. Could that be where filming in the UAE comes in? Courtesy Lucasfilms

Could the force be with us? The search for Star Wars truth

On the hunt for the Star Wars: Episode VII set, which a growing number of people are sure is in Abu Dhabi, but no one can seem to find.

 With an estimated 18,000 comic and film fans having already paid a visit to this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con, organisers are hopeful they will have surpassed last year total, of 21,000, by its close. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

In pictures: Middle East Film and Comic Con in Dubai

Dubai's World Trade Center was awash with people visiting this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con. Here's some of our best pictures.

 Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, presents Quincy Jones with the Abu Dhabi Festival Award as the Admaf founder Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo applauds. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Festival.

A candid talk with Quincy Jones about the UAE, Lil Wayne and the Abu Dhabi Festival award

The Abu Dhabi Festival honoree Quincy Jones discusses his legendary career as a music producer, the return of Dubai Music Week and why he can’t handle the rapper Lil Wayne.

 Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge arrive at Wellington Military Terminal on an RNZAF 757 from Sydney on April 7, 2014 in Wellington, New Zealand. Chris Jackson / Getty Images

In pictures: Will and Kate visit Australia and New Zealand

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge are on a tour Down Under for three weeks.

 A protester gives a victory sign during clashes near Tahrir Square in Cairo in November 2011. Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

Street life: humanity’s future depends on ability to negotiate and sustain public space

Negotiating our ever more crowded cities and maintaining vibrant public spaces are among the major challenges facing humanity in the coming decades.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National