Why Padmaavat will decimate Pad Man at the box office on Jan 25

You need to take one look at the trailer of Padmaavat, earlier Padmavati, to realise the amount of hard work that has gone into every frame, every second of the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film. A part of the reason why the film faced so much trouble before its release is because of what the trailer promised. If released on December 1, 2017, Padmavati would have been a sure-shot blockbuster, one that only Tiger Zinda Hai might have been able to overtake a few weeks after the release.


But Fate had other plans for Padmavati.

Massive protests rocked the nation, from Rajasthan to Bihar, from Delhi to Tamil Nadu. Threats were issued left, right and centre. Deepika Padukone was called unpalatable names; Sanjay Leela Bhansali, even worse.

Padmavati missed its date with the box office. December 1, the day when the film was supposed to hit the theatres, came and went without Padmavati in screens.

Petitions reached the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). It took the censor board four weeks after the initial release date of Padmavati to finally get together a special panel of historians and former royal family members. The film was screened for this special panel and people came out with mixed feelings about Padmavati.

While some historians called the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film devoid of any historical fact, members of the Mewar royal family cried shame and betrayal. Cries of 'history has been distorted' rent the air around CBFC chief Prasoon Joshi for allowing the film a release.

Joshi stuck to his stand of certifying Padmavati a 'U/A', provided the film team agreed to the suggested modifications. That included a change in the name of the film too.

From it being centred on Rani Padmavati, it became an adaptation of Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi's 16th Century epic poem Padmavat. From Padmavati, to Padmaavat.

And then came the official release date of the film, January 25, 2018. In IMAX 3D, in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi. Padmaavat got back in the game, nearly two months after its initial date of release.

The box office, however, already had Akshay Kumar perched on it. For a few years now, Akshay Kumar has made sure his first film of the year hit the screens on the Republic Day weekend. In 2015, he had Baby. In 2016, he had Airlift. Last year saw Hrithik Roshan's Kaabil and Shah Rukh Khan's Raees fighting it out at the ticket windows during the Republic Day week.

This Republic Day too, Akshay Kumar has his film Pad Man scheduled for a release. The date of Akshay's film was decided long ago: January 25, 2018. The same day that Padmaavat is now hitting the screens on.

Our film was supposed to release on Republic Day from the outset. It's a free country and if people insist on a particular day, nobody can stop them. However, it is silly to clash in a small industry; there are enough dates for everyone. It's not the wisest thing for films to clash.
- R Balki, Pad Man Director
Pad Man director R Balki voiced his displeasure at this box office clash. "Our film was supposed to release on Republic Day from the outset. It's a free country and if people insist on a particular day, nobody can stop them. However, it is silly to clash in a small industry; there are enough dates for everyone. It's not the wisest thing for films to clash," Balki was quoted as saying by a tabloid.

And he couldn't have been more correct.

Because with Padmaavat in screens on the same day as Pad Man, the Akshay Kumar-starrer might just see yet another superstar bowing down in front of comparatively newer actors.

Padmaavat vs Pad Man
Padmaavat, earlier Padmavati, was initially slated for a December 1, 2017 release.
The release date of Pad Man was always January 25, 2018.
The box office is set to see a massive clash on January 25 this year.
REMEMBER BAJIRAO MASTANI VS DILWALE?

No one quite anticipated the kind of reponse at the box office that Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 2015 film Bajirao Mastani received. The unspoken statement in gossip circles was that Dilwale will trample over Bajirao Mastani.

But a different tale played out at the box office upon the release of Bajirao Mastani and Dilwale. Dilwale, which had Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol reuniting on screen after five long years, had Rohit Shetty behind the camera, and Varun Dhawan-Kriti Sanon to cater to the younger audiences, found it difficult to sustain at the box office after a few weeks. To begin with, Dilwale was dismissed by critics as the same old Rohit Shetty film with some romance thrown in.

Bajirao Mastani, on the other hand, had content to offer and some jaw-droppingly brilliant performances by Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra. Despite its run-time, which was quite long by an average Bollywood-film standard these days, Bajirao Mastani managed to strike a chord with the audiences.

Such were the kind of returns the film got at the box office, that Ranveer and Deepika both hiked their fees. They clashed with a Shah Rukh Khan film, after all. And emerged victorious.

SO WILL PAD MAN VS PADMAAVAT BE A RE-RUN OF BAJIRAO MASTANI VS DILWALE?

Not quite. Because Dilwale was doomed from the outset. After the flocks of Shah Rukh fans and Rohit Shetty fans and Varun Dhawan fans were done with the film, there was hardly anything in the story to salvage it. The longetivity factor was missing in Dilwale. Something that Bajirao Mastani offered in heaps.

With Padmaavat, while the story and history parts might remind one of Bajirao Mastani, its adversary at the box office this time is Pad Man. A film that has been promoting itself as one with a social message.

Pad Man is the biopic of Arunachalam Muruganantham, the man who invented low-cost sanitary napkins. He has been credited with bringing about a sanitary-napkin revolution in the country. A man, who has educational institutes offering courses on his model of innovation.

As far as content is concerned, Pad Man and Padmaavat have different audiences. But there is still the question of curiosity.

CURIOSITY

In Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince, when Dolores Umbrige bans the issue of The Quibbler containing Harry's interview, Hermione Granger couldn't have been happier. From the book:

"Oh, Harry, don't you see?" Hermione breathed. "If she could have done one thing to make absolutely sure that every single person in this school will read your interview, it was banning it!"

The Karni Sena might have done the same with Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat. In their thirst to see the film banned, they might just have ensured that everyone, who might not even have been interested in seeing Padmavati in the first place, will now get their tickets to the film just to see what the hullabaloo was all about.

Controversy sells. The groups protesting against the release of Padmaavat have made sure that the film opens to packed theatres. Something that a clean, non-controversial Pad Man might not have the luxury of seeing.

ACTORS AND THE CHEMISTRY

More than anything else in Padmaavat, people are interested in seeing exactly how Bhansali's lead heroine Deepika Padukone and the antagonist Ranveer Singh are portrayed in the film.

This has been a major issue of concern for even the groups who have taken to the streets baying for Bhansali's blood. Why cast Ranveer, Deepika's real-life boyfriend, as Alauddin Khilji if Bhansali had no 'mischief' in his mind?

The filmmaker and his team have taken turns to clarify that there is not even a single scene between Ranveer and Deepika in Padmaavat, but try making the protestors believe in it.

As far as Pad Man is concerned, Akshay Kumar will be seen alongside two heroines, Radhika Apte who is his wife, and Sonam Kapoor, a social worker. Pad Man's trailer and songs, none have been able to overtake the kind of response that the trailer of Padmaavat and its songs have received.

DIFFERENT AUDIENCES

While Pad Man has a certain niche group of viewers who will go into the theatres and watch the film, Padmaavat seems better placed as far as the the multiplex audience is concerned. Padmaavat is being released in IMAX 3D, to top that. The broad format will draw more viewers into the theatres, it will eat into the screen-count that Pad Man would earlier have enjoyed.

But there are four days in the Republic Day weekend this year. Both the films are hitting the screens on Thursday, January 25. By Sunday, the trends will be decided.

WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE BOX OFFICE ON JANUARY 25?

Fireworks!

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