Boney Kapoor, the film producer who is best known for producing films like Mr. India, Judaai, and Wanted, calls the decision of the makers of SS Rajamouli‘s RRR to release their film on October 13 “unethical,” while the latter’s producer D.V.V. Danayya, as told to Deccan Chronicle, stressed that everyone has their own plans when it comes to release dates.
Kapoor was referring to the two highly-anticipated, big budget films releasing around the same time. The Telugu period drama, Roudhram Ranam Rudhiram (RRR), will release on October 13, the makers announced on Monday. However, Hindi film Maidaan, produced by Kapoor, will release on October 15, which was announced on December 12, 2020.
“What they have done is fully unethical and immoral, knowing that Ajay Devgn will be acting in both films, to go ahead and announce the date, is immoral,” he told Silverscreen India.
“We had announced the date almost eight weeks earlier, sometime around in December . The problem is that when two big films are likely to clash, there is a friction between producers and the better way is that one of them alters the date. Now, it is apparent for all the producers to ensure that revenue is optimised in these difficult times. We haven’t yet got over the Covid situation in the country. Markets are affected and they are depleted. If two major films release on the same date, we will be eating into each other’s business,” he said.
To this, Danayya reponded saying, “If you look back, our original release date was in July 2020, and then it became January 2021. But because of the pandemic, we had to postpone the release indefinitely. After having put in so much effort, and with uncertain shooting schedules, we have finally locked the release date as October 13 for Dasara.”
Referring to past incidents of big-budget films releasing on the same day, especially during festive seasons, Kapoor said that “those were better times”. While Danayya felt that “since Telugu audiences and people across the country celebrate it, we feel the festivities would be incomplete without a film’s release.”
Kapoor said that he couldn’t contact RRR‘s producer and has instead spoken with Rajamouli.
“I spoke to Rajamouli and he was busy in a shot and called me back. And he gave a very lame excuse, that it was the producer’s call and he has got nothing to do with it and that the distributor has been pressurising the producer,” Kapoor said.
“I have been in this industry for the past 40 to 42 years. Having made 40 films, there’s never been a time when a distributor could have forced me to release my film on a particular day. And more so, to Rajamouli whose last two films have done [a business of] a thousand crores. Any distributor would have the guts to tell him what date to release [his film]? They will be happy that they got this film for distribution. It is impossible for them to go and tell Rajamouli to release his film on that [particular] date. And Rajamouli’s film does not need an honorary [date]. His picture is big enough. He should realise that,” Kapoor said.
Danayya maintained his claim and told DC, “It’s not our call. They are the ones who have been constantly working on the release dates, in order to plan their logistics and other modalities. So it’s unfair to blame us for the release clash.”
Rajamouli’s Baahubali: The Beginning (2015) earned Rs 650 crore worldwide, while Baahubali: The Conclusion (2017) making a whopping Rs 1,800 crore worldwide, making it one of the biggest Indian films ever.
Asked what his next step will be, Kapoor said, “I will not shift not my date. My film has already been fixed on the date.”
Speaking about the financial impact of the films clashing at the box office, Kapoor said, “It is not the announcement of the release date. The clash causes the financial impact. Maybe 60% of the people would go to see his film and maybe, 40% would come for my film. But had it not been releasing together, all the 100% would have gone to him and maybe to me.”
On January 19, Irish actor Alison Doody, who stars in RRR, accidentally revealed the film’s release date on social media. While sharing an update on the shooting on Instagram, Doody wrote that the film will release on October 8. Although she soon deleted the post, screenshots started doing the rounds. Following this, on Monday, makers of RRR announced the release date.
While an OTT release remains an option, Kapoor said that feels that his larger-than-life films are made for the big screen.
“Films are made for big-screens, I believe. OTT is definitely an option but at this point, I am a supporter of the exhibitors and the theatre owners and in any case, my films are larger than life. They are planned and made for big screens. Unless I am pushed in the corner, I would be compelled, but as of now, my films are made for the cinema halls,” he said.
Maidaan is a biography of football coach Syed Abdul Rahim. Directed by Amit Sharma of Badhaai Ho, and produced by Zee Studios and Kapoor, it will release in four languages- Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam.
RRR is a fictional account of freedom fighters Alluri Sitaramaraju, and Komaram Bheem. Apart from Devgn and Doody, the cast features Alia Bhatt, Ram Charan, Junior NTR, Shriya Saran, Olivia Morris, and Ray Stevenson in prominent roles. Produced by DVV Danayya of DVV Entertainments, the film will release in five languages.
Silverscreen India reached out to the producers of RRR, but they were unavailable for comment.