Rustom, Mohenjo Daro on collision course


The battle lines are drawn. Will the much awaited Rustom and Mohenjo Daro kill their own box office by half with a same-day release? That seems very likely, and it would be a travesty, for, going by their trailers, both are excellent concepts that will appeal to multiplex- and single-screen audiences alike. So why this hara kiri?

Watch the trailers first, in case you haven’t yet, to see what each film is up against.


First, the official trailer of Rustom, from the makers of Special 26 and Baby. Sleek, engrossing, brilliant. Here it is:

So Rustom is definitely on my must-watch list. But it releases on the 12th of August, and is headed for a clash with one of the biggest films of 2016, Ashish Gowariker’s epic Mohenjo Daro which, knowing Gowarikar’s work and penchant for the  gargantuan historic canvas and going by the trailer, will be an intense, chaste-Hindi earthy drama of epic proportions, starring Hrithik Roshan. The trailer is gripping, and majestic in its scale and sweep. Definitely a film I’m waiting for.

Mohenjo Daro:

On Friday, the 12th of August, it will be Akshay Kumar versus Hrithik Roshan. In two excellent concepts set in different universes that are millennia apart – one in 1959 and the other before even Christ Himself. And apparently engrossing films will throw the ultimate test for the marketing might of two major movie studios of India – UTV and Zee Studios — in how strongly they help their films open on the opening day, weekend, and week.

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Divide and lose:

It would be a pity if both these  forthcoming films were to persist upon a same-day release. All that would do is split a possibly great exclusive opening right down the middle. That would be sad because both films and their producers, actors,  units, production houses definitely deserve great returns on all the investments and efforts.

So neither will win. Remember what happened when the mights of Eros for Bajirao Mastani and the collective might of Gauri Khan’s and Karim Morani’s setups   for Dilwale clashed when both films released on the same day? Neither film got the opening that it could have received had both agreed to a compromise and mutually spaced their release dates.

That will be the tragedy of a same-day release of Rustom and Mohenjo Daro too. Both films are the result of enormous investments and effort, and, equally, represent a big business opportunity for the industry, which truly deserves the fruit of their labours.

Indian film making is maturing. The studios’ approach to doing business should demonstrate the same. Unite and gain much bigger total returns. And help the film industry to grow too

What’s really strange is that especially Mohenjo Daro, a major period film with I guess obviously bigger budgets – it even has a story on its official website that says Hrithik Roshan charged 50 crore for doing the film – and a worldclass global studio like Disney India involved, has decided to release the film on the same date as another major production. So has the presumed collective wisdom decided to jeopardize these big investments with a readiness to accept smaller openings and total returns by releasing Mohenjo Daro on the same date as Rustom? Looks like that. Of course, the same question could be posed to the Zee Studio’s and the nine-odd producers on the Produced By credits of Rustom.

You divide the audiences, you will suffer.

Unite and gain:

One hopes wiser counsel prevails and the films’ release dates are spaced apart. In fact, both film casts and top crew should agree to that, and should grace the openings of each, in whatever order that happens. That would be an industry- – in fact, a world- – first. Indian film making is maturing. The studios approach to doing business should demonstrate the same. Unite and gain much bigger total returns. And help the film industry to grow too. Can you imagine that visual of Akshak Kumar, Hrithik Roshan and all the cast, crew, production house stalwarts, everyone, at two different premieres one or maybe two weeks apart, for, in alphabetical order, Mohenjo Daro and Rustom? As I said, that’d be something even Hollywood hasn’t done.

Here’s to that!