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Bollywood Talk – Coolie No.1, AK vs AK, Shakeela and Wonder Woman 1984 to release

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The beneficial Christmas weekend is here. Unlike Diwali, when a small film ‘Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari’ released in cinemas, this time, things are little better. After all, ‘Wonder Woman 1984’, one of the most awaited films of the year, will be releasing. Audiences would have the choice of watching this flick and also three more.

‘Wonder Woman 1984’ is the sequel of the 2017 flick ‘Wonder Woman’ and stars Gal Gadot yet again in the lead role. The director, Patty Jenkins, too returns to helm the sequel. The first film was set during World War I while Part 2 is based in the year 1984 at the height of the Cold War. The trailer promises loads of entertainment and big-scale action. Gal looks stunning and her casting has added a lot to the film’s brand value. She also has quite a following in India.

The first part released with minimal hype and only in English. It was released on June 2, 2017 amidst 7-8 Hindi releases and a major English film (‘Baywatch’). Yet it had emerged as the top film of all and had a lifetime of Rs. 19-20 crore. The opening day collections were Rs. 2.50 crore. ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ releases today (Wednesday December 23) with paid previews from 5:00 PM onwards. From tomorrow, it’ll have a full-day release to take advantage of Christmas Eve, when people do come out in huge numbers. It is getting a wide release, of more than 1000 screens, making it the biggest release of the season. The film is in 3D but the makers have decided to release only in 2D, fearing that some theatres might end up giving used glasses to patrons.

Sadly, it faces many challenges. Firstly, the perception is that audiences might not come in huge numbers. Secondly, the film is releasing simultaneously in cinemas and on HBO Max platform in many markets of North America and Europe. Once it’s out digitally, its pirated HD print would make its way on the internet. Trade fears that a chunk of moviegoers would prefer to watch the film at home illegally instead of spending money to see it in cinemas. And lastly, a major roadblock has been put in Maharashtra after the state government imposed a curfew from 11 pm to 6 am. As a result, all shows post 8 pm had to be cancelled. The exhibitors have been quite hurt and angry with this decision as this film had recorded very good bookings for late evening and night shows from December 23. Not to forget, the two prime markets of the film are in Maharashtra, Mumbai and Pune.

Due to these reasons, it’s difficult to say if ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ would be able to collect more than Day 1 collections of Part 1, which were Rs. 2.50 crore. However, it releases in Hindi and South languages as well. Also, the international reviews have been encouraging. The paid previews collections can be around Rs. 30-40 lakhs while Thursday can be around Rs. 90 lakhs-1 crore. It is from Friday December 25 that the film would collect tremendously. ‘Wonder Woman’s first weekend was around Rs. 8 crore and maybe, the collections of the sequel might not be able to reach that mark. The target for this film would be to go beyond ‘Tenet’s (2020) lifetime collections, which are around Rs. 11 crore. With the year-end being a time when work is slow and people want to enjoy, the weekday collections can be encouraging. In fact, ‘Tenet’s lifetime record can be broken by ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ in the first week itself.

‘Shakeela’ stars Richa Chadha as Southern star of the 80s and 90s, Shakeela. Directed by Indrajit Lankesh, it also stars Pankaj Tripathi. It seems to be in ‘The Dirty Picture’ [2011] zone. But hype and awareness are almost zero. And moreover, it’s a theatrical release, from December 25. A film with some excitement like ‘Indoo Ki Jawani’ [2020] opened at Rs. 20 lakhs. This flick might open at less than Rs. 10 lakhs sadly.

‘Coolie No.1’ is the remake of the much-loved 1995 film of the same name. Just like the original, it’s also directed by David Dhawan. Starring Varun Dhawan, Sara Ali Khan, Paresh Rawal, Rajpal Yadav, Jaaved Jaaferi and Johny Lever, it looks like a big-screen entertainer. Sadly, the film is releasing on Amazon Prime, on December 25. The fear is that just like ‘Laxmii’, this film too would get ridiculed. After all, it’s the elite audiences who subscribe to these channels and they despise such masala films. A real idea of the film’s verdict would be out when this film would be aired on television.

‘AK vs AK’ is directed by Vikramaditya Motwane and stars Anil Kapoor and Anurag Kashyap. Interestingly, both play themselves, but exaggerated versions of it. The film shows that Anurag Kashyap kidnaps Anil Kapoor’s daughter Sonam and compels Anil to find her, while filming the whole experience in real time. The trailer is crazy and it’s sure to get viewership, especially among the elite who would love to watch such experimental content. It releases on December 24 on Netflix, which is the day Anil Kapoor celebrates his birthday.

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