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Bhagam Bhag-Guru clash?

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By: Joginder Tuteja, IndiaFM
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
First week of Diwali releases Don and Jaan-E-Mann has ended and by now it is crystal clear that the film that is on a 'pick-up' journey rather than a 'sail-through' route is Jaan-E-Mann. Everyone agrees that the film is a good watch and has all in it to be an enjoyable outing for the families but when it came to 'choices', Don has emerged as a clear winner.

One tended to believe in the earlier days that both the flicks would be neck to neck and though the variation in reviews of both indicated that Jaan-E-Mann wouldn't have much to worry about, it has not been really the case.

The clash has indeed left bruises loud and clear and even the makers of the film may have been left wondering if it was indeed worth it to release their film alongside the might of Don. This brings one to an all important factor that makes box office a mystery as it has been for over decades - the audience's choice! The power to choose between what 'they think' is an idea of perfect entertainment.

Clearly, 'junta janardhan' has its own way of defining the norms and twisting them completely as per their own wishes!

Now this brings one to a similarly interesting situation that is expected again in the month of December. The date is 22nd and this is when two more biggies are expected to clash - Bhagam Bhag and Guru. Both the films boast of great credentials. While Bhagam Bhag is a Priyadarshan film with a winning starcast of Akshay Kumar, Govinda, Paresh Rawal and Rajpal Yadav along with Jackie Shroff, Lara Dutta, Tanushree Datta and Shakti Kapoor, Guru comes from craftsman Mani Ratnam who ropes in Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai as leads along with Madhavan, Vidya Balan and Mithun Chakraborty. Other small but interesting factor is that while Mallika Sherawat has been roped in for an item number in Guru, stunner Maushumi Udeshi gyrates to an item song in Bhagam Bhag.

Even at the writing front, Neeraj Vora [who delivered superhit Phir Hera Pheri earlier this year] is at the helm for Bhagam Bhag while Anurag Kashyap holds the pen for writing dialogues for Guru. When it comes to music, Pritam's name looms large over Bhagam Bhag whereas A.R. Rehman has seldom failed while composing for Mani Ratnam. Obviously the unexpected is least anticipated in case of Guru!

If one looks at the technical aspects of the two films, Guru certainly scores a lot more than Bhagam Bhag due to a formidable crew comprising of Gulzar as the lyricist, Rajiv Menon as the cinematographer, Vikram Dharma as the action director, Sabu Cyril and Samir Chanda pairing up for art direction and Sreekar Prasad as an editor. Above all, Mani Ratnam also pitches in to wear the hat of story and screenplay writer.

So where does this leave the two films? A coming together on the same date i.e. December 22nd?

If one looks at the Diwali clash, this may not indeed be the brightest of ideas. This is because though both the films look to be winners in isolation, when it comes to an end-of-year choice, audience is expected to opt for Bhagam Bhag due to its massy appeal which coincides with the New Year eve celebrations. On the other hand Guru gives an impression of being classy and in the battle of two, its stand at the box office turn comparatively weaker. Also with Bhagam Bhag already been confirmed for December 22nd, it hardly gives a negotiating space for Guru!

This brings another problem for Guru. Would it make sense for it to get postponed by a week? Doesn't really seem like a good choice. Why? Ask Shahid Kapoor!

He had three of his films in last two years coming on New Year's Eve and none of them really led him to celebrations. While 'Dil Maange More' barely survived after releasing on Dec 31st 2004, Vaah! Life Ho Toh Aisi didn't make him appreciate life on December 23rd 2005. To add to his vows, Shikhar got a thumbs down from the very first show which began on Dec 30th 2005, hence making one believe in the trend that movies coming at the close of year do not really work at the box office.

Taking a cue from here, producers of Guru may wish to contemplate moving the film to early 2007. With only two real biggies confirmed for the month of January [Salaam-E-Ishq and Fool & Final] and both coming on Republic Day, there is an entire open month to be explored. Yes, there are chances of films like Good Boy Bad Boy and Tara Rum Pum coming in earlier but 3 weeks in total should be big enough to accommodate them all. Also, by that time, the promotion of Guru would have ignited in a big way and will get the film into limelight.

Will this voice reach out to those responsible behind the release timings? One hopes so, because just like the clash encountered this 'Diwali', one doesn't want any bruises left for anyone this New Year's Eve. Both Bhagam Bhag and Guru deserve to be watched for all their might and credentials and even audience isn't really intending to 'choose' between the two!

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