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Bollywood is known for its superstitious beliefs. And when it comes to their films, the producers don't believe in taking any kind of risks. This is probably the reason why the releases generally reduce during the period of Shradh. Shradh according to the Hindu calendar is a period which is unsuitable for any kind of business and well, movies surely are a business. This year, two movies that released in this period which includes Naksha and Dil Diya Hai, both bombed at the Box Office. These two flops resulted in the loss of minimum of Rs.12 Crores. Besides, if we take a practical view, the films didn't manage to impress the critics as well, so one can say that they were heading for an ill-fate anyway.
But then, even if we look at the records of past few years, the belief of the producers can't be completely overlooked. Last year, films like Vivek Agnihotri's Chocolate and Rohit Jugraj's James failed at the Box Office, though the expectations from these films were actually high. In fact, many people were expecting RGV to postpone James due to Shradh, but the man decided to flow against the tide. And in spite of the high level of publicity done for these films, for some reason, they never pulled audiences to the cinema halls. Again, if we move back to 2004, Atul Agnihotri's directorial debut Dil Ne Jise Apna Kaha failed at the Box Office though it had big stars like Salman Khan and Preity Zinta. Similar was the fate of Phir Milenge which had stars like Salman Khan, Abhishek Bachchan and Shilpa Shetty.
The Shraadh period was considered so dangerous to the film business that till 2004, nearly 90% of the releases used to get postponed to avoid 'Shraad'. But now, say some experts, the things are changing. With the coming of corporates into the industry, the focus is on business rather than the old beliefs. Interestingly, the period of Shraadh and Ramzan when the releases were the least are now being used to release medium budget films. This very year saw nearly 22 films releasing during the 45 day period. Besides, in terms of business, since most producers avoid releases during Shraadh, this serves as a golden period for smaller films to cash in. Films like Pyar Ke Side Effects, Dor, Khosla Ka Ghosla and Woh Lamhe among others have been released by the producers with the same strategy in mind.
This obviously gives a chance for the medium-budget films to avoid the biggies which make their grand entry during the festive season Diwali and Id. This year, films like Farhan Akthar's Don, Sajid Nadiadwala's Jaan-E-Mann and J.P. Dutta's Umrao Jaan are all among the big films that are going to takeover the market during Diwali-Eid. Many film makers whose films are less on glamour and star value avoid this period. Says Madhur Bhandarkar that he would better let this phase pass-by and then give a proper release to his next film Traffic Signal. As sometimes, even the most sensible of movies have chances of going unnoticed when the big bannered multistarrer's hit the screens.
Whichever way it might, one thing is sure that this year has proven to be extremely lucky for Bollywood with movies doing big business. And if the producers continue to plan and play it strategically, it'll benefit the industry in turn as all the films - big or medium budgeted - will have a chance to score with the audiences.