Does festival season light up the box office? Yes and no! No, if the movie is anchored by a non-Khan and yes if it is anchored by either Khan. Diwali appears to do the trick consistently for Shah Rukh Khan while Salman takes the cake as always on Eid.
The trend got buttressed this Eid as well with Salman emerging the BO king with his Ek Tha Tiger and Shah Rukh Khan too did not disappoint as his Jab Tak Hai Jaan reaffirmed his lucky date with Diwali. Shah Rukh have had a history of success with Diwali given it is around this festival season (November 2) that he celebrates his birthday.
A quick recap by Zee Research Group (ZRG) of last few years unravels that Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan have always been successful to woo their audiences during the festive seasons.
Baazigar (1993), Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Veer-Zaara (2004), Don: The Chase Begins Again (2006) and Om Shanti Om (2007) were all King Khan’s Diwali releases and all of them were box –office hits with movies like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Dil To Pagal Hai and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai being considered as cult movies as they were box–office blockbusters.
Salman Khan roared at the box–office with his releases like Wanted (2009), Dabangg (2010), Bodyguard (2011) and Ek Tha Tiger (2012) on ‘Eid.’
Endorsing the fact that festive season hype is real for Bollywood, film reviewer and blogger Ananya Bhattacharya reiterates, “In Bollywood, yes, to an extent, festival hype is real. Festival releases, as compared to an average Friday releases, can safely be said to gross more amount of money at the box office on the opening day.”
“In India, most big releases are usually lined up for Eid, Dusshera, Diwali, Christmas, New Year and the like. We have seen that with Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan.
Salman usually has releases on Eid every year, while SRK’s films hit the screens on Diwali and the like. This year too, Salman’s Ek Tha Tiger released on August 15, and managed to rake in the moolah since Eid was also just round the corner. Shah Rukh Khan’s Diwali release, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, too, has been able to do exceptionally good business. The other Diwali release this year, Ajay Devgn’s Son of Sardaar, despite being slammed by critics, has managed to earn a lot of money,” concurs Bhattacharya.
Rejecting the view that a festive season release diversifies the quality of the film script, Bhattacharya asserts, “A festive release, more often than not, doesn’t really have much to do with the festival the film is being released on. However, on national holidays like Independence Day and Republic Day, we have seen films being released whose scripts have something to do with nationalism and the like. More often than not, the biggies of the industry target the festival slots because it means, in neat and clear economic terms, more business.”
However, festive seasons have also disheartened many stars like Akshay Kumar and Sanjay Dutt. Akshay-and-Aishwarya-starrer Action Replayy‘was released in 2010 on Diwali and couldn’t ruffle feathers at the box–office. Akshay Kumar and Sanjay Dutt starrer Blue which was once again a Diwali release in 2009 had some good underwater stunts but could not create any buzz and submerged. Sanjay Leela Bansali’s Saawariya (2007) which was a launch pad for ‘Ranbir Kapoor’ and ‘Sonam Kapoor’ could not survive the might of Shah Rukh’s Om Shanti Om.
A look over the past shows that the tinsel town’s release war during Diwali is not new and movies clash almost every year in a race to win hearts.
Movies like Akshay Kumar’s Action Replayy vs Ajay Devgn’s Golmaal 3 in 2010, Salman Khan’s Main Aur Mrs Khanna vs Akshay Kumar’s Blue and Ajay Devgn’s All the Best in 2009, Madhur Bhandarkar’s Fashion vs Rohit Shetty’s Golmaal Returns in 2008,Shah Rukh Khan’s Om Shanti Om vs Sanjay Bhansali’s Saawariya in 2007, Salman Khan’s Kyon Ki vs Akshay Kumar and John Abraham starrer Garam Masala in 2005, The Yash Chopra directed Veer Zaara vs Abbas Mustan’s Aitraaz in 2004 and Karan Johar's Kuch Kuch Hota Hai vs David Dhawan’s comedy film Bade Miyan Chote Miyan starring Amitabh Bachchan and Govinda in 1998 are few examples of the release war during Diwali.