The D-day is closer than it ever was. After weeks and months of speculations and uncertainties, the mother of all clashes is finally taking place with ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan‘ and ‘Son of Sardaar‘ taking on each other. Frankly, for the audience as well as the industry, it cannot get bigger than this. In my entire career as a Bollywood writer, I haven’t see as much buzz, as much hype, as well fan-wars, as much competition and as much as interest level and enthusiasm amongst the fan-base as well as ‘aam junta’ around factors like release size, print count, expected occupancy etc.
However, the most important thing, as always, will boil down to the actual content. It has always been the case, it would continue to be the so. Moreover, this is the first ever instance, as far as I can remember, when any film (leave aside two major films in this case), is seeing a full fledged release as early as a Tuesday. This means that nothing can be said about the eventual fortune of a film just on the basis of Tuesday (or for that matter even Wednesday and Thursday) collections.
The films have as good as a six day weekend for them which means even if one of these takes a head-start on Tuesday, there are always more days to catch up on. Of course if one of the films is a total disappointment (possibility of which is more or less zilch), the signs would be clearer early. However, it would be the six day run that would decide their eventual fate.
This brings me to the much awaited question – ‘Which film would take a better start at the box office?’. Well, from the collections perspective, it has to be ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ (especially in A centres) and there won’t be anything surprising about it due to a better release size and theatre placement. However in the B and C centres, ‘Son of Sardaar‘ should be showing better occupancies due to theme and ‘masala’ genre. It won’t be fair though to comment on the eventual collections as well as average occupancy over the six day weekend due to an erratic release schedule as well as the festival period that would split audience.
However one thing is for sure that quite a few interesting numbers would be thrown in (and many myths broken about the capacity that Bollywood followers have to spend on tickets) if both ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan‘ as well as ‘Son of Sardaar‘ turn out to be superior products. That would establish loud and clear that whether box office indeed has an upper cap for collections or is it an overflowing market that is just waiting to be tapped to the fullest.
Joginder Tuteja tweets @tutejajoginder