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Friday’s boxoffice Clash…Or Crash, Trade Analysts Speak

Friday January 10 is a red-letter day for the Hindi film industry. Three major Hindi films –Meghna Gulzar’s   eagerly awaited  real-life  biopic  Chhapaak, Ajay Devgan’s  historical Tanhaji and the out-and out  escapist  Rajinikanth entertainer Darbar where director A  R  Murugadoss directs  the Thalaiva for the  first time, are all  going to hit the theatres simultaneously.

In addition there is the new Mahesh Babu starrer  Sarileru Neekevvaru in Telugu capturing the  Andhra/Telangana market. Luckily for  the Bollywood boxoffice Sarileru Neekevvaru is  not  dubbed in  Hindi.

So what are  the  prospects  of these potential blockbusters? And would the  clash prove unhealthy at  the  boxoffice?

Trade pundit Amod Mehra feels  Ajay Devgan’s Tanhaji won’t be affected by  Chhapaak.  “Chhapaak is basically a multiplex film. So it’d be  a  limited screen release. It won’t be a competition for TanhajiTanhaji is an out-and-out commercial film. As it is  in 3D it would be the first choice of exhibitors. Darbar is a regional  film dubbed in Hindi. Moreover  Rajinikanth’s last  few films have not done well in North.So Darbar  may  have  some appeal for single screens in  B and C centres .

Says trade  analyst  Girish Johar, “Tanhaji is the first  big-ticket release of 2020 led by Ajay Devgn and Saif Ali Khan. It  is mounted on a lavish scale. The production values are extraordinary and this one is looking huge at the boxoffice. Meanwhile, we also have  Chhapaak toplined by the heart-throb of the nation Deepika Padukone back after  two years.Directed by the immensely talented Meghna Gulzar. It  is based on a true story  and is an issue-based real life drama. While Tanhaji will be  a wide release  they are also targeting the 3D screens as an additional  revenue earner , as  the makers what  to show their lavish sets on the large screen and 3D  format.”

Girish   feels  Chhapaak would have  a relatively  small release. “Chhapaak should be a limited metro-centric film as it would  rely heavily on its strong word-of-mouth and  critics’ feedback.It  will be the audiences’  second  choice to start with and  if well-made and  duly appreciated by its audiences, it will surely have a long and winning run at the BO.”

Girish feels Rajinikant is  relatively less  appealing in  the North.  “For the Hindi audiences, Darbar will be the third  option of the week.But down South it will be leading all films by a huge market. Rajni Sir has a huge stronghold down South.It will  also be strong overseas and so technically the Hindi boxoffice  will be an additional bonus for its makers, as its craze is humongous amongst its targeted fans.”

 Opines  trade insider  Atul Mohan:  “Very exciting and very interesting clash,  this clash is going to kickstart 2020.All three films are important. The South is virtually captured by the Rajini wave and Reliance is targeting around 1500 screens for the Hindi belt. With around 1500 screens  available in India to exploit films,  it will be interesting to see how Tanhaji and Chhapaak will manage to get maximum  screens in their kitty. Also , let’s not forget  Good Newzz is having fantastic run at the BO and will manage to get good screens and showcasing in its third week also.”

Atul feels the Indian boxoffice cannot  undermine the ‘Mahesh Babu’ magic. “ An important thing to notice also is that Mahesh Babu is also arriving with his next and Dhanush also in Telugu and Tamil belt , respectively. So down South, Hindi releases will be given a scattered release. Now coming back to Tanhaji and Chhapaak , the two films are important for Ajay and Deepika. Deepika is coming back after long time,  riding on a strong woman-centric subject and Ajay Devgn with his most ambitious outing to date.Tanhaji is also releasing in Marathi ,so it will also manage to get good screens in Maharashtra with Hindi plus Marathi.”

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