The big upset about this year’s Eid releases!

Now we clash on Eid! Ajay Devgn of Maidaan with Akshay Kumar of Bade Miyan Chote Miyan in Sooryavanshi. Photo: Universal Communications

It’s a global convention that new films release on a Friday. But in India, on prestige release dates (Diwali, Christmas, Eid, Republic and Independence Days and sometimes Holi, Dassera et al), films can release on any day from Sunday to Thursday (so far I don’t recollect a theatrical Saturday release).

In the last 24 years, co-releases (as shown in last week’s 2-part story, Clashes in Film Releases), have gained prominence and smaller films usually do not dare to take on the big ones. Prominent exceptions were the David that was Tum Bin taking on the Goliath called Aks in 2001 and defeating it, and Stree pummeling Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se in 2018.

But 2024 saw a rare turn of events in the insecurity-ridden industry. The (sick) joke was on the poor audience, who could not even book tickets in advance for the festive season as the filmmakers dilly-dallied.

Yes! Both films were to hit the screens on April 10 as Eid releases. April 9 was another holiday in parts of the country as Gudhi Padwa and New Year in some states. But obviously the pan-Indian Eid was more important.

And now, after the media screening of Maidaan, held on a Monday, April 8, there was a big change!

Maidaan, which has become a media favorite and has carried rave reviews from whoever has watched it, will now start screening on the evening of April 10. On the other hand, the producers of Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, in their wisdom (?!) have decided against a media screening, but the regular shows start on the morning of April 11! The last of very rare films that did not have media screenings was Fighter, and that movie had underperformed—of course, I am not implying a cause-and-effect situation!

All I wish to state here is that the reason for avoiding media-screenings is either over-confidence or under-confidence, and some wise souls reflect that there is no real difference between the two, especially among filmmakers!

Due to non-sighting of the moon, most parts of the country will be celebrating Eid-Ul-Fitr now on April 11, Thursday. However, the obligatory crescent moon was sighted in Kerala and Jammu & Kashmir (including Leh and Ladakh) and the festival will be celebrated there on Wednesday, April 10, and according to some sources, from that evening.

However, the bottom-line is that the industry is super-timorous about returns and ironically, as shown by the sudden change, not really caring about planned family and friends outings for movies and thus, in a way, about the very audience they want to have in movie-halls! But the Maidaan team’s confidence is now bolstered by the great word-of-mouth and critical reception to the slightly-delayed film and is gung-ho about screening it from Wednesday evening.

Happily, the Eid favorite of Indian cinema, Salman Khan, never had this problem when he had an unbroken stream of Eid releases from 2009 to 2019, the only exception being 2013 when he did not have any release!

And finally, just for the record, here is the current track-record of Ajay Devgn, Akshay Kumar and Tiger Shroff, and the two films’ directors.

Ajay Devgn: Last hit—Shaitaan earlier this year.

Akshay Kumar: Last hit—Sooryavanshi in 2021, followed by an extended cameo in OMG2 in 2023. After Sooryavanshi, there have been 3 OTT releases and 5 theatrical flops.

Tiger Shroff: Last hit—War (2019) After that, Baaghi 3 just about recovered costs in 2020, while Heropanti 2 and Ganapath were mega-disasters!

Director Amit Ravindernath Sharma (Maidaan): Last hit—Badhaai Ho (2018). After that, he directed an episode of Lust Stories 2 and also Trial Period, which were released on OTT in 2023.

Director Ali Abbas Zafar (Bade Miyan Chote Miyan): Last hit—Bharat (2019). After that Jogi and Bloody Daddy were seen on OTT as also the series, Tandav.





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