Clash Course: When big films like Gadar 2 & OMG 2 release together

The poster of Gadar 2. Photo: Publicity Photo

Gadar 2 and OMG 2, both big films, are slated to release this week. For Gadar as a franchise, competition isn’t new: it had released alongside Lagaan and come up trumps. And now, the Anil Sharma-Sunny Deol-Amisha Patel sequel to that 2001 mega-buster is expected to triumph this time as well.

Advance booking reports (and comparative collections) are being bandied all over the media, and the North, especially Punjab, is said to be rocking in terms of the prospects of the mass actioner, which now also stars Utkarsh Sharma, shown as a kid in the earlier film, as Tara Singh’s and Sakina’s grown-up son. After all, both Tara and Sakina are now iconic characters essayed by Sunny and Amisha respectively.

The poster of OMG 2. Photo: Publicity Photo

This time, OMG-2 (a sequel to OMG—Oh My God!, which was the biggest hit of 2012 in termns of Return on Investment) has already curtailed some prospects by willingly accepting an ‘Adults Only’ censor rating. This was to avoid cuts that would have compromised on its bold theme—of masturbation being normal in teenagers.

In 2001, Lagaan got the critical bouquets but, except in Mumbai and maybe a couple of other cities, lost out in the collections. It was hailed as a great film, a classic almost, picked up awards galore, was nominated to the Oscars from India, but could not recover its investment then. As Sunny Deol put it, “Competition was there even then and people were raving about Lagaan. I just thought Gadar is my film, so whatever will happen, will happen. But Gadar did record business and Lagaan only a fraction of ours. When they compare it that way, I say I don’t see the comparison, but Lagaan was a good film, very good film.”

“I don’t understand why people compare,” he had added. “People assumed my Gadar was a masala film, with old-fashioned image and music. People, on the other hand, believed Lagaan was classic, and so forth. Gadar had also been thoroughly demolished by the so-called film critics. It went on to become a popular film, and the audience adored it.”

Director Anil Sharma also told Bombay Times, “Eventually, one actor’s movie will help grow the other actor’s movie. This is what is happening with Barbie and Oppenheimer today in India. People want to enjoy. I’m not even thinking about the clash. I believe two or three movies can release on the same date.”

Aamir Khan recently told Bombay Times too, “Gadar was at least three times, if not four times, bigger than Lagaan. Gadar was a tsunami. If Lagaan was even one percent less of a film, we would not have stood a chance. Lagaan may not have done great business, but it received a lot of love.”

Media sources say that OMG 2, despite the co-release, has “reacted better than any of Akshay Kumar’s post-pandemic films.” The film had an average start in advance booking at national multiplex chains such as PVR, Inox and Cinepolis as, according to reports, around 7,700 tickets have been sold by Monday. The film has to maintain its booking rate. The goal is 60,000 seats in three chains by Thursday night, which would be a record for the actor after the pandemic. But positive word-of-mouth is critical for its success, especially since both Gadar 2 and adult certification limit the reach of this film.

OMG-2 co-producer Ashwin Varde told me, “Of all my films, I am the proudest of this one.” Writer-director Amit Rai added, “I don’t know about the other film. I just hope my film does well. It is my firm belief that powerful content will excel in the clutter.” For the uninitiated, Amit had directed the landmark 2010 film, Road to Sangam.

Why two releases together?

But the question on everyone’s minds remains: Can’t such clashes be avoided between two big films?

This query assumes greater significance today for two reasons: One, the box-office isn’t as favorable to movies as it was pre-pandemic and when watching films was less expensive. Now, movies need to possess a Theatrical Quotient (a curiosity factor and value-for-money content that people want to see on big-screen even before the film streams in eight weeks). The second reason is that they are far fewer big, theatrical releases in the last two years, and they are coming in at the rate of just one or two in a month, so unlike in the past when around 150 (give or take a few) films had just 52 Fridays in a year, such is not the case anymore.

Writer-director Anees Bazmee recalls getting a call from Aamir Khan asking why his big-cast Welcome (in 2007) was being released along with Aamir’s “chhoti (small) picture (Taare Zameen Par).” But Bazmee confessed that he could do nothing as it was not in his hands. Says Anees, “Clashes should be ideally avoided. Nobody happily goes in for clashes. But sometimes, it’s inevitable. And still, films do become successful.”

Explains trade analyst Taran Adarsh in the same Bombay Times feature: “A producer’s predicament is that if the film is complete, further delays lead to more interest needed to be paid.”

However, while producer Ramesh Taurani feels that two movies can be easily accommodated, and film exhibitor Akshaye Rathi feels that there should be enough movies to feed the existing 9000-plus screens in the country, most of the trade fraternity and analysts look at clashes negatively. Especially today, when watching one film puts back a family of four by a bare minimum of Rs. 2000, a family may not want to double their “investment”. The times are gone when a family could watch two movies for as less as Rs. 500 (or even lesser!).

And 2023 is set, ironically, for two more clashes. December 1 will begin with a triangular clash between Animal (Ranbir Kapoor with the director of Kabir Singh), Fukrey 3 from Excel Entertainment (the earlier parts had done progressively better) and Meghna Gulzar’s Sam Bahadur. December 15 sees Dharma Productions’ Yodha featuring Sidharth Malhotra clash with Tips’ Sriram Raghavan-directed Katrina Kaif film, Merry Christmas.

A key aspect is also that the two films need to be dissimilar in genre. In Diwali 2005, two comedies, Garam Masala and Shaadi No. 1, released alongside the serious Kyon Ki…, and only the better comedy, Garam Masala, succeeded—no viewer wanted either an abysmal attempt at comedy or a serious tearjerker at festival time.

And just for the record, a clash that was happily averted was Pad Man with Padmaavat in January 2018. Akshay Kumar generously decided to shift Pad Man, which eventually proved an average runner, while Padmaavat proved a blockbuster. But neither film flopped.

3 Happy Clashes of the past

Sholay & Jai Santoshi Maa (Both blockbusters) / August 15, 1975

Dil & Ghayal (Both blockbusters, in that order 1990’s biggest hits) / June 22, 1990

Welcome & Taare Zameen Par (Both hits) / December 21, 2007











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