Well have been meaning to write this prior to the ‘negative’ publicity around the ‘ban’ against the upcoming Diwali flick, Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (ADHM).
Firstly, whom were they kidding? Did they actually think they would ban
- one of the biggest releases of the year,
- during the most anticipated festival time,
- by one of the biggest production houses in Bollywood?
After the release of Udta Punjab, one should get a fair idea what all these ‘bans’ eventually lead to. But that is not the point of this feature.
A lot of expectations are always built up during Diwali / Eid / Christmas releases. Especially with the multiplex culture in the past decade. Somehow over the years, Diwali has been the most sought after / fought for slot by all makers. Sometimes there is a single winner,
- Garam Masala v/s Kyon Ki in 2005
- Don v/s Jaaneman in 2006
- Om Shanti Om v/s Saawariya in 2007
- Golmaal Returns v/s Fashion v/s Heroes v/s Roadside Romeo in 2008
- All The Best v/s Blue v/s Main aur Mrs. Khanna in 2009
- Golmaal 3 v/s Action Replayy in 2010
- Jab Tak Hai Jaan v/s Son of Sardaar in 2012
Ra. One, Krrish 3, Happy New Year & Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo being lucky ones to be only major releases in 2011/2013/2014 & 2015 respectively.
So this Diwali brings 2 biggies again. Shivaay by Ajay Devgn and ADHM.
A lot of money is riding on these two flicks. Ajay with his previous record (dating back to Bedardi in 1993) is known to clash with someone or the other for his Diwali slot. Mostly he has kept his Diwali record intact.
Lets see why this Diwali is so much more special for both the makers.
Starting with Ajay Devgn, he is carrying the entire project on his shoulders. Produced & Directed by him, after The Notebook inspired U, Me aur Hum disaster, he goes in for his favourite genre, action / drama.
Now while he is confident of selling his father / daughter drama, he is sure to be a worried man. His last successful hit movie was 4 Diwalis ago in Son of Sardaar. Post that he has been suffering from Himmatwala, Satyagraha, Action Jackson (a pre Diwali release in 2014). His Singham sequel, released on Independence day, might have crossed the 100crore mark, but was a dud, and so he scraped off with the Nishikant Kamat remake of Drisyham, safely scoring 91crs equipped with some fantastic performances by him and Tabu.
Shivaay is also important to Ajay the Director too. If he cant pull this one off, then I guess he will have to say adieu to his directorial dreams, just like his father’s dream turned into a nightmare for the audiences in 1999 with Hindustan Ki Kasam. There is also no strong supporting cast in Shivaay besides what I guess from the material available is Girish Karnad, Saurabh Shukla and Vir Das. So nothing besides the Devgn charm and Diwali festival which will have to pull this through.
So he does have to ensure that just like he managed to fight and pull off a hit in the silly remake, Son of Sardaar (which only ran cos in that year all screens were hijacked by it and JTHJ), he has to do an encore. Save this, he then has nothing but to fall back again on his Rohit Shetty Golmaal Again in Diwali 2017.
AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL
The bigger of the two in terms of star cast, production value and sheer star power involved. This Karan Johar directed; Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Aishwarya Rai Bachcchan starrer; with special appearances by Fawad Khan and Shahrukh Khan and Alia Bhatt for a song, cant get bigger for a Diwali treat.
Why is this film so crucial for its key players… lets see:
- Aishwarya’s much hyped comeback vehicle, Jazbaa turned out to be a dud. Then the Sarbjit biopic bounced back on her, where instead of being the asset for the film she turned out to be the biggest liability. So that leaves her last successful film to be Jodha Akbar in 2008 and Rajnikant’s Robot in 2010 (if you can give credit to the heroines in a Rajni film). She desperately needs this glam cougar role to give her the fillip in her comeback. Or else she risks being a has been, like many of her era.
- Anushka Sharma – she is relatively on a better wicket here. Her last hit was only 2 years ago in the Aamir Khan starrer pK. Following that her home production, NH10 was average. Dil Dhadakne Do was an extended cameo at best. Thrown in between was the disastrous Bombay Velvet with Ranbir Kapoor. She did feature in this year’s Salman Khan hit Sultan, but then again, it was obvious they both were hardly together during the shoot, and again, which heroine stands a chance to take credit in a Salman film now.
- Ranbir Kapoor is the most affected by this film. God forbid, if it goes the Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna way, then it will lay the final nail in his once illustrious career. Ranbir’s last big hit was in 2013 with Ayan Mukherjee’s Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. Post that the man has only delivered Besharam, Roy, Bombay Velvet and Tamasha. Not counting the cameos of Bhootnaath Returns and pK. Coupled with the fact that his detective flick Jaggaa Jaasoos has been in the making since eons. From the entire lot of stakeholders in this movie, Ranbir has the biggest gamble at hand. Either this brings him back in the race along with Ranveer, Sushant and Varun or it throws him behind Arjun, Siddarth and Aditya.
- Dharma Productions delivered their last blockbuster too in 2013 May with Ranbir in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Deepika being the lucky mascot for them, I guess. Post that, the production house has only delivered average hits among duds.
- After their critically acclaimed association with The Lunchbox, came Punit Malhotra’s disastrous Gori Tere Pyaar Mein.
- 2014 had 3 average hits in association with other production houses, Hasee to Phasee, 2 States, Humpty Sharma ki Dulhania. This again was followed by Rensil Dsilva’s dud, Ungli.
- Distributing Baahubali in 2015 was commercially successful, but producing Brothers and Shaandaar, again were not.
- 2016 saw some hope in the critically acclaimed average runner Kapoor & Sons (its approx. 56 day run fetched in Rs.104crores; collections from Day 22 to 56 being paltry, but I guess they stretched it to cross the 100cr mark). This was again followed by the September disaster of Siddartha Malhotra and Katrina Kaif starrer, again co-produced with Excel Entertainment, Baar Baar Dekho, which didn’t get the audiences even for a single deko.
Karan Johar, the director is in a relatively safe place. Returning after 4 years as director (the fantastic Student of The Year), he doesn’t stand to lose much in his capacity as director if this film doesn’t work. But as a producer / presenter, he does lose a lot, besides face for as loving as the audiences are, they are unforgiving to people who ruin Diwali.
So, lets see, what we have in store, this Friday. Do the heart strings strike a chord in New York, or does the adrenaline rush in Bulgaria, make the jump. Lets take a leap of faith….