In the movie business, Diwali, the festival of lights holds a pride of position what with its association with wealth and prosperity. Although over the years, other festivals too have been playing catch up, Diwali still remains a much coveted release date, at least for Hindi films. One of the biggest advantages of Diwali over other festivals is perhaps the fact that it is considered an auspicious occasion to spend money, a god-sent for film-makers. Almost every year, Diwali is marked by a really big ticket film showing in a theater near you. In a vast sprawling metro like Mumbai where recreational choices are limited, watching a film during Diwali vacations, certainly tops the list of things-to-do.
The option works beautifully for both family auds and singles or nuclear families. After all, a day out at the movies is synonymous with shopping and dining out— a prospect which suits wives, mothers and singletons just fine, and the kids are thrilled to bits too. I recall several Diwalis during my single-in-the-city days spent rather happily at the movies with friends or family depending on who was visiting at that time of the year. Over the last decade, yours truly would have faithfully watched a film practically every Diwali weekend at sky-high ticket prices with no regrets whatsoever. Fortunately, given the frenetic work schedules in metropolitan cities, the tribe of people gravitating to film theatres on Diwali continues to be on the rise much to the delight of film-makers and exhibitors.
The complex economics of a Diwali release makes it imperative for the film to be a big-budget, starry production adhering to the formula in order for it to draw the biggest crowds. So predictably, more often than not, the Diwali release option is reserved for films that can tick against all those boxes. Don, Krrish, Fashion, All The Best, Om Shanti Om, Saawariya are some of the movies that made it to the D-category release and raked in impressive profits. Happy New Year, 2014’s Diwali entree is a multi-starrer that as per the actors, is going to keep the audience thoroughly entertained and perhaps leave them with a thought too. Given that it toplines Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone, the industry is already agog with expectations. Trade pundits are predicting a roaring business and movie lovers are eagerly awaiting their Diwali dose of entertainment, the good old-fashioned way.
In present times, when the hard-nosed film producer has transformed into a suave and savvy businessman, industry insiders are loath to say it openly, but Diwali releases, even more than other festive offerings, have to be mass entertainers packed with entertainment, entertainment and entertainment; logic and realism be damned. Much like the Christmas releases in Hollywood, Diwali in filmi parlance is the season to be merry, watching family movies. In the festival of lights, there is no room for dark reality.
Quite evidently on Diwali, light-hearted is the best way to quell darkness.