The much hyped Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Shivaay ended up impacting both films. With combined collections of both the films expected to close in the Rs 210-220 crore range, it is hardly good news. Last year’s Diwali release Salman Khan’s Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, despite mixed word of mouth, had ended up netting Rs 210 crore all by itself. The potential these days is clearly Rs 300 crore with the number of screen that are now available (around 5000) but the two Cs — content and clash — have resulted in much lesser numbers.

With the next big clash is expected to take place on January 26, 2017, one wonders if Bollywood can afford another clash.Hrithik Roshan’s Kaabil was all set to arrive solo on the Republic Day weekend. However, Shah Rukh Khan’s eventual decision to arrive on the same date turned out to be a spanner in the plan for all involved.

Larger issue

The issue is not just about Shah Rukh Khan vs Hrithik Roshan. The issue is much larger, that of the industry which has seen its fortunes dip already in 2016. The last thing it needs is bloodshed right at the beginning of the year. Bollywood could well do with a much better success ratio, the fact remains that even if both films are at least well made, at least 25 per cent loss is definitely on the cards.

Even if one gives a nod of approval to the rationale of ‘the-film-which-announced-its-release-date-first-should-arrive-solo’, it is common sense that when two biggies arrive on the same date, audiences will get divided. Both Shah Rukh and Hrithik are superstars and when they arrive with a film which plays to their strength, there is no stopping them.

Their Dilwale and Bang Bang may have seen mixed reviews but still, former (with Shah Rukh’s romantic image) went on to do close to Rs 150 crore while latter (with Hrithik’s action image) did even better to cross the Rs 175 crore mark. That tells the tale!

Hence, now that Hrithik is coming with Kaabil and SRK is coming with Raees, one just hopes that there is no clash whatsoever. One look at the promo of Kaabil and you know that Hrithik is pretty much in the ‘zone’ with this Sanjay Gupta directed affair, especially when compared against Mohenjo Daro. On the other hand, Raees has seen much better buzz building it when compared to Shah Rukh’s last, Fan. ALSO READ: Kaabil trailer: Hrithik Roshan and Yami Gautam’s romance turns dark within a minute leaving us stunned

Unfortunately though, the situation is turning out to be the kind where one would be ‘forced’ to make a choice. When pirated DVDs and online prints are available within 24 hours of a film arriving, for a viewing member a choice has already been made. In a good case scenario, one film would be seen in theaters. In the best case scenario, both would be seen. However, the ratio would be minimal in case of the latter.

However, pick any patron and give him a choice to watch two films at a gap of two or more weeks and he would be glad to grab them both. Especially, when you are talking about two major superstars in two of the most anticipated films of the year.

As things stand today, promotion of Kaabil is already on. On the other hand, for Raees it is yet to begin. There is still time. It is a matter of blinking first with grace.

More than anything else, it is needed for the sake of the industry!

High profile clashes in last three years:

2016

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil: Rs 115 crore (expected)

Shivaay: Rs 100 crore (expected)

Combined total: Rs 215 crore (expected)

Rustom: Rs 128 crore

Mohenjo Daro: Rs 58.5 crore

Combined total: Rs 186.5 crore

2015

Bajirao Mastani: Rs 188 crore

Dilwale: Rs 148 crore

Combined total: 336 crore

2014

Bang Bang: Rs 181 crore

Haider: Rs 60 crore

Combined total: Rs 241 crore