Bollywood is all set to hit back. And how! A couple of years back when Season One of Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket competition kick started, not many were prepared for its might. In fact the only film which succeeded in a major way despite the onslaught of the cricket matches was Emraan Hashmi starrer Jannat. Yes, the film was well made but its success was also primarily due to the fact that this film from the house of Bhatts dealt with match fixing and betting, something which was quite contemporary at its best.
However, Bollywood pretty much realised that with matches beginning from 4 PM in the evening and wrapping up around 11 PM in the night, it was futile to bring any new releases in theatres while the tournament was on. This is the reason why in 2009 there were no biggies announced in the duration was IPL was scheduled. It was a different matter that this time period also saw the stand off between producers and multiplexes which led to a total draught of movies in theatres. However, it was quite clear that even without the strike, no filmmaker with crores riding on his project would have dared to bring it up in theatres.
Comments an insider, "Yes there was this waiting period but then it only led to double trouble. First and foremost there was no software made available to theatres which means that Bollywood wheels stopped moving for a couple of months, hence bringing the incoming of any revenue whatsoever to a complete halt. It was a standoff of the worst kind as let aside A grade projects, even B grade films opted to wait in the wings. Secondly, soon after the closure of IPL (and subsequently the producers' strike), there was an avalanche of film release."
A bad phase
It was the survival of the fittest (and the biggest) due to which road was cleared first for biggies like New York, Kambakkht Ishq, Luck, Love Aaj Kal, Kaminey, Life Partner from June till August. This was followed by a total break down of machinery as an entire backlog of smaller and medium budget films, which would have otherwise released during the period of stand off, started jostling for space.
"It was a really bad phase", continues the insider, "Things took a turn for the worse as regardless of the anticipated (poor) fate of their products, filmmakers started releasing their films in piles. It wasn't a matter of two, three or four films releasing in a single week. The average stood at half a dozen films a week for number of weeks in succession and it wasn't a surprise to even the makers that not many out of them managed to survive even beyond the first weekend. Flops and disasters were the order of the day and it took a Wanted to bring industry out of a slump."
However, the damage had been done, quite a few filmmakers had turned broke, industry (which had already lost hundreds of crores due to IPL and strike) lost a lot more over the three months gone by, many actors came back home with their dreams shattered and Bollywood in general struggled to survive from its darkest phase of the current decade.
The fight back
This is the reason why things seem to be taking a turn for the better this year with Season 3 of IPL already on. Bollywood has smartened up and it is not allowing itself to be exhumed in the manner of the year gone by. It is making best use of the six weeks made available for itself before IPL concludes and biggies start making the round of theatres once again. However, smaller and medium budget films aren't willing to be steamrolled later in the day when audience would have a choice to pick between the top stars/banners and them.
So let's have a dekko at how Bollywood release calendar looks as of now. With the fickle nature of the industry, this could pretty much go through a modification in weeks to come but as of now, most of the films mentioned are confirmed for arrival on the said date, hence summing up to be an astonishing 30 odd releases in March and April!.