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October 20, 2000
WISH THE STARS
Diwali: the magic mantra!
It is a magic mantra. Say Diwali and watch filmmakers scramble to get their films released.
What is it about the festival that makes filmmakers scramble to release their films?
Producers rush with their films to meet the Diwali deadline. The reverse is equally true. Producers delay their ready films by a few weeks so as to come out on Diwali are also many.
Then there are producers like Yash Chopra and Yash Johar who announce Diwali as the release date of their films even before they launch them.
Yash Chopra's Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was released on the Diwali of1995.
Traditionally, Diwali is considered the best week in the entire year to release films.
This, obviously, is not to say that a bad or flop film will fetch returns only because it is released on Diwali.
There have been instances of Diwali releases hitting the bull's eye. As also of films making it despite no release in the bountiful week.
Luckily for the film industry, the last five years, Diwali weeks have been propitious.
Diwali 1999 saw the release of Rajshri's Hum Saath Saath Hain was released. Although it was no patch on Sooraj Barjatya's Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!, it, nevertheless, proved a hit . It was the biggest hit that year.
Karan Johar's debut directorial venture, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, was released on Diwali 1998.
Along with this love story which went on to become a blockbuster, came the comedy flick, Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. Although this did not bring in the mega bucks, it saved the distributors' skin thanks to the timing of its release.
The film had opened to bumper houses and the first (Diwali) week's shares were enough to make the all-India distributors safe. BMCM is one of the best examples of a film being helped by Diwali.
The Diwali of 1997 belonged to Yash Chopra. Dil To Pagal Hai was released. Thetrain and while the trade people called it a bomb, it ultimately turned out that their predictions had bombed! The film went on to become a major hit.
Two years earlier, Aditya Chopra's first film, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, also made it to the cinemas on Diwali.
Between the two Diwalis that were dominated by the Chopras came the Diwali of 1996. Rajkumar Santoshi's Ghatak created some fireworks of its own.
Then came Raja Hindustani. Technically speaking, it was not released in the Diwali 1996 week. It opened mid-week which, for all practical purposes, was akin to a Diwali release. Needless to add, that film wrote history.
But on the same Diwali came damp squibs like Sapoot.
In 1992, Ajay Devgan's Jigar brightened the Diwali of its distributors, while Feroz Khan's Yalgaar made the festival of lights a veritable festival of darkness for its distributors.
Taking you further back, the Amitabh-starrer Saudagar in 1973 was also a bomb.
Diwali 2000? It's Mohabbatein and Mission Kashmir pitted against each other.
Their fate? Anybody's guess.
But if producer Surendra Bohra is to be believed, "The Diwali week will see combined collections of all films at the BO cross the Rs 100 crore mark."
Meanwhile, we wait and watch.
A look at the week ending Friday, October 20, 2000
**Ratings based on box office collections and cost of the film**
Komal Nahta edits the popular trade magazine, Film Information.
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