No big Bollywood releases early next year

Navdeep Kaur Marwah

New Delhi, Dec. 4 -- It's no big New Year for Bollywood. The first quarter of 2013 will see very few big banner releases as producers prefer to keep them for holidays and festivals, and industry experts say this may in turn help small but strong films hit the jackpot.

There are around 22 films expected to release in January-March next year, but the only big-ticket ones are Abbas-Mustan's Race 2 (January 25) starring Saif Ali Khan, John Abraham and Deepika Padukone, Vishal Bhardwaj's Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola (January 11) featuring Imran Khan and Anushka Sharma and Sajid Khan's Himmatwala remake (March 29), starring Ajay Devgn. The not-so-big ones include ABCD - Any Body Can Dance, Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster, Table No. 21, Inkaar, Mumbai Mirror and Nautanki Saala.

"Only about Rs. 200 crore is riding on the first quarter," says trade analyst Atul Mohan. This, compared to more than its double riding in the last quarter of 2012. "Big stars today depend on festivals and extended weekends to release their films as they want to mint maximum money. That is why most big-ticket releases are concentrated around Diwali and Eid, and other times such as the first quarter go dry. Race 2 is also releasing because it's a national holiday on January 26," says film expert Vikas Mohan. While Salman Khan is known to release his films on Eid, Shah Rukh prefers Diwali. Even Aamir goes for Christmas. Film expert Rajeev Masand says, "I think we should be ready for some surprises. Last year in this period we saw how Paan Singh Tomar and Kahaani, which were small budget films, did fabulous business."

Flicks and Fests

Salman's Eid releases: Wanted (2009), Dabangg (2010), Bodyguard (2011), Ek Tha Tiger (2012)

Shah Rukh's Diwali releases: Baazigar (1993), Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Veer Zaara (2004), Om Shanti Om (2007), Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012)

Aamir's Christmas releases: Taare Zameen Par (2007), Ghajini (2008) and 3 Idiots (2009)

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.