Last year it was Raees v/s Kaabil, this time it is Padmavat v/s PadMan – Pretty much goes on to show that when it comes to Bollywood, filmmakers have time and again not shied away from stepping over a relatively smaller film even if it means leaving a bad taste in the mouth of many involved.
The release date of PadMan was announced months ago as 26th January. All seemed fine till the whole issue around Padmavati (then erupted). Amongst many things that happened for the film, including the titled been changed to Padmavat, there was quite some speculation around the eventual release date too. The film continued to get pushed and is now eyeing the same slot as PadMan.
While the Akshay Kumar starrer is arriving a day earlier on 25th January to make the most of the long weekend, Sanjay Leela Bhansali has ‘apparently’ picked up the same date as well. Why ‘apparently’? Because there is no official word on the date yet. Still, the fact that there is absolute silence around it all means no denial is coming in either, hence adding fuel to the fire that eventually there would be a clash.
No wonder, Aiyaary has promptly moved ahead (smart move), allowing films bigger than it to fight it out.
The trouble though is not as much as the clash between a 200 crore budgeted film versus the one that has been mounted on 20 crores, it is more about how the situation has taken an ugly turn once again when it comes to Bollywood clashes.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali is not a stranger to such clashes. He has found himself on the wrong side of affairs when Shah Rukh Khan threw an open challenge to finish off Saawariya with his Om Shanti Om. That was still the time when at least the Diwali 2007 arrival of both the films was spoken about much in advance. Later, he got his sweet revenge with Bajirao Mastani going well past Dilwale. Fair enough, it could well have been all over back then. However, the fact that his Padmavat is now eyeing the same slot as PadMan when it is just cost-wise and not concept-wise smaller makes one wonder if this was the only choice available.
This isn’t all as Viacom, which is backing Padmavat, is not shying away from the clash either when it has had quite a few associations with Akshay Kumar in the past, most recent being Toilet – Ek Prem Katha which was the actor’s last release. That film was a superhit no less but all seems to be forgotten as now the two are on the opposite sides of the fence.
Of course eventually, it’s the adage of ‘may the best film win’. This was evidenced last year too when Raees and Kaabil came together and though the much more expensive Shah Rukh Khan starrer went on to have a bigger opening and better lifetime score, latter was more appreciated and also enjoyed a longer stay in theaters with added profits.
What makes one wonder though how clashes like this, especially the ones which are unpredictable, uncertain and unwarranted, takes place so frequently in Bollywood. While it is one thing to have a planned one at that (these can still be dealt with in a better way, as was the case with Golmaal Again and Secret Superstar just a few months back), the unplanned ones are the kind that end up taking over the entire media space with talks centered on the clash per se instead of the film’s content.
Well, all one can say is – both Padmavat and PadMan deserve better. They are (at least what it seems like) too good to be spoken about for reasons other than the plot that they boast of!