For the past few weeks, Anurag Kashyap has been miffed with Aamir Khan and Rajkumar Hirani for scheduling the release of P.K. on the same day as Bombay Velvet-Christmas 2014. He admitted as much to Mirror (March 18), saying, "All it would have taken is a phone call. It hurts, because I respect Raju as a filmmaker and as a person," repots Times of India quoting the Mirror.
Now Mirror has learnt that Aamir and his co-producers, Disney UTV, have asked single screen and multiplex owners to block their screens for P.K. for two weeks, from December 19 to January 1. The gameplan obviously is to monopolise the festive season.
When contacted, Anand Vishal, Head of Operations, Fun Cinemas, confirmed this, "Yes, the producers of P.K have asked for an uninterrupted two-week run from theatres Fun Cinemas will decide its plan of action closer to the date of release."
Nitin Datar, President, Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association of India, was more forthcoming, "Haan, this is true. Also, they want shows in multiplexes every half hour." Datar however warned that if P.K does not fare well, then exhibitors in agreement with distributors, could pull it out from some screens after the first week.
"I guess, we'll have to make some adjustments for P.K. since an Aamir film is a big draw. It remains to be seen if Bombay Velvet sticks to its Christmas release. However, we received some feelers late on Wednesday evening that Anurag could shift the release date to November 28. It would be good for the trade if the clash is averted," Datar asserted.
Obviously, he is not firing blanks because Anushka Sharma, Bombay Velvet's leading lady tweeted around 5.30 pm on Wednesday, "What's happening on Nov 28? You will know soon. Wait for my next tweet."
The next tweet was, "Won't be able to attend Bombay Velvet wrap up party tonight. Shooting for NH10 in Rajasthan. Will miss BV gang."
The announcement she was hinting at in the first tweet was connected to the wrap-up party. And at the said party, Vijay Singh, CEO, Fox Star Studios, and leading man, Ranbir Kapoor, reportedly confirmed that the period film will unveil on November 28. Mirror has it that the think-tank of Bombay Velvet had even discussed the idea of releasing the film on December 12, a week before P.K. but obviously a three-week headstart is a better option.
This is not the first time that two big films clashing at the box-office have been engaged in a tussle of this kind. Son of Sardar Vs Jab Tak Hai Jaan (Nov. 2012), Talaash Vs Khiladi 786 (Jan. 2013), Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbaai Dobaara Vs Chennai Express (Aug. 2013) are three recent examples.
"It's not fair to ask theatres to run according to a filmmaker or star's whims and fancies. This is nothing but dictatorship and is uncalled for," Datar added.