The film industry has a good 2011 as it harnesses long weekends and festivals.
On Diwali day, start at Mannat, Shah Rukh Khan’s house in Bandra. Travel through the heart of the Indian film business in north Mumbai, right up to Film City. The chances are all you will hear is a deafening silence. It is the sound of an industry waiting with bated breath for the first word-of-mouth reports on Ra.One.
The Rs 160 crore magnum opus, produced by Khan, starring him and promoted ad nauseum by him, is one of the most expensive Indian films ever made. It is being released on Diwali in a film-crazy country that blows up a lot of money and has fun that week. The combination — SRK, festival and mood — is deadly. Ra.One is destined to do well. Given its budget, how much profit it makes may be a question mark. This however is not about Ra.One.
“Traditionally, a festival release gets 10 per cent more audiences,” says Sreedhar Pillai, a Chennai-based trade analyst. It is also the time that everyone is equal in the film business. “There is usually an unsaid understanding that no two big films will release on the same day. The only exception is a festival. No rules apply,” says Allu Sirish, marketing director, Geetha Arts, a Hyderabad-based production house. The company has produced, among other films, Ghajini.
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