The Diwali battle between the makers of Son Of Sardar and Jab Tak Hai Jaan is hardly over, and a new set of filmmakers have already drawn out their swords.TOI has learnt that the producers of Aamir Khan starrer Talaash, Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar have asked single screen exhibitors to allow a two-week run for their venture that releases on November 30. This will affect Akshay Kumar’s Khiladi 786 that hits the theatres a week later.
According to a trade source, exhibitors aren’t too pleased with the constant war between filmmakers over screening space. “First YRF asked single screen owners to give their Diwali release starring Shah Rukh Khan as many screens as Salman Khan’s Ek Tha Tiger. This put a lot of pressure on most exhibitors since Ek Tha Tiger was a single big Eid release and on Diwali there were two big films. And now, the makers of Talaash are asking for a continuous two-week run. Ideally, most theatre owners would like to decide on the film’s second week run after assessing the response in the first week,” said the source.
When contacted, trade analyst Amod Mehra opined, “YRF started this trend. Hereafter no big film will be assured of a decent release. This sparks off a very unhealthy trend in the industry.”
Distributor Ramesh Sippy however, chose to differ. According to him there is nothing wrong with Talaash producers asking exhibitors for a two-week uninterrupted run. “Business is never healthy. Also, it is not necessary that a two-week run is implied to essentially kill the next big movie-in-line. The idea could be to let the distributor have the upper hand. Else, sometimes the exhibitors are rather merciless,” he told us.
Sippy, who also runs the Chitra Cinema in Dadar added, “I have not decided on Talaash yet. I shall decide when the time comes.” Mehra however believes that it will be rather tough for single screen owners to reject Talaash‘s offer. “Who doesn’t want to screen a Aamir Khan film?” he said.
In the meanwhile, the battle between Ajay Devgn’s SOS and SRK’s film is far from over. After the Competition Commission of India rejected the complaint filed by the makers of SOS alleging YRF of anti-competitive practices, Devgn has now made an appeal to the Competition Appellate Tribunal. The tribunal has ordered an enquiry into the matter with less than a week left before the films hit the theatres.