Two weeks back, we had reported in our Bollywood Talk that cinemas in Maharashtra are finally going to open soon. The state contributes 30% of the domestic business. While cinemas opened in every major state in July or August, the Maharashtra government preferred to keep theatres shut over the fears of the third wave of Covid-19. Hence, only three major Hindi films managed to release in cinemas in this season, ‘Bell Bottom’ (2021), ‘Chehre’ (2021) and ‘Thalaivii’ (2021).
On Saturday, September 25, the government of Maharashtra finally announced that it’ll open cinemas from October 22. It was quite late but the mood in the industry was jubilant. Many felt that one should look at it positively since the government for the longest time was not in favour of opening cinemas before Diwali. Hence, if it has agreed to reopen theatres 2 weeks before the festival, it’s a feat. An hour after the government announcement, Rohit Shetty announced that he’ll release his much awaited film, ‘Sooryavanshi’ on Diwali. Incidentally, Rohit Shetty met Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray regularly and played an important role in getting the approval of reopening cinemas.
The next day, Yash Raj Films unveiled the release date of some of its upcoming films. Soon, many other producers too jumped on the bandwagon. In no time, all important slots like Diwali 2021, Diwali 2022, Christmas 2021, Christmas 2022, Republic Day, Holi, Ramzan Eid, Independence Day, Valentine’s Day etc., were booked. As expected, some clashes are also taking place.
While cinemas open from October 22 in Maharashtra, no major Hindi film is scheduled to release that day or on October 29. ‘Sooryavanshi’ would be the first significant film. This would be followed by ‘Bunty Aur Babli 2’ starring Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukerji, Siddhant Chaturvedi and Sharvari Wagh. On November 19 followed by John Abraham starrer ‘Satyameva Jayate 2’. December 3 would see the release of the launch vehicle of Suniel Shetty’s son Ahan, ‘Tadap’. On December 10, Ayushmann Khurrana and Vaani Kapoor starrer ‘Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’ will make its way to the cinemas. There’ll be no Hindi release on December 17 but it’ll be significant as it’ll see the clash between Allu Arjun’s much talked about Telugu film ‘Pushpa’ and the most awaited Hollywood film in recent times, ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’. On December 24, sports period film ’83’ would release and on December 31, another cricket-based film, ‘Jersey’ starring Shahid Kapoor would be out.
January 2022 might begin on a dramatic note as the first weekend sees the clash between Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Alia Bhatt starrer ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ and ‘Baahubali’s (2015) director S S Rajmouli’s next, ‘RRR’. January 14 would see Prabhas presenting his love saga, ‘Radhe Shyam’. On January 21, Akshay Kumar would be back with the epic period drama, ‘Prithviraj’. On Republic Day, John Abraham would present ‘Attack’. February 4 might have no release as on February 11, Aamir Khan’s much awaited film, ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ would be out.
The other release dates that were announced were of Ranveer Singh’s social comedy ‘Jayeshbhai Jordaar’, which will be releasing on February 25. Akshay Kumar’s action entertainer ‘Bachchan Pandey’ will be releasing on March 4. ‘Shamshera’, a period dacoit film starring Ranbir Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Vaani Kapoor will be releasing on March 18. The horror-comedy, ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’ will be releasing on March 25, Tiger Shroff’s ‘Heropanti 2’ and Ajay Devgn and Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘Mayday’ will be releasing on Eid April 29. Ajay Devgn’s sports drama ‘Maidaan’ will be releasing on June 3. John Abraham and Arjun Kapoor starrer ‘Ek Villain Returns’ will be releasing on July 8. A clash between Akshay Kumar starrer ‘Raksha Bandhan’ and Prabhas’s Ramayana version, ‘Adipurush’ on Independence Day week August 11. Akshay Kumar’s ‘Ram Setu’ on Diwali October 21 and Tiger Shroff’s futuristic film, ‘Ganapath – Part I’ on December 23.
And this is not all. The release dates of many films are still pending like Shah Rukh Khan starrer ‘Pathan’, Salman Khan’s ‘Tiger 3’, etc. Even Karan Johar hasn’t announced the release plans of his films. Experts are expecting that SRK and Salman might try to grab the Diwali or Eid slot. This would mean that the films already scheduled on those days would move. Or they won’t and the Khans would end up clashing with them. The latter won’t be a favourable situation but then, it’s bound to become very common since so many films have held up releases for so long. As long as moviegoers come out in hordes to theatres and a significant number of films become hits, everything would be fine.