Is Padmavati taking the risk of releasing with Padman on Jan. 26?

When spoke to Bollywood trade experts, they ridiculed the idea of such a box office clash.

Somebody with a mischievous bent of mind is trying to create panic for KriArj Entertainment which has two big films lined up for release in Padman (January 26) and Pari (February 9) by putting out stories that Padmavati might release on Republic Day. If this “giant” releases on January 26, this source adds, then it does not make “commercial sense” for KriArj to release Padman on the same day and even Pari after 14 days because any “good businessman” would not want to start his film on a warring note.

The story being told is that Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, the producer of  Padmavati, had a long meeting on New Year’s day and toyed with the idea of releasing the period drama on January 26. According to this source, the news sent tremors of fear in KriArj Entertainment’s office for the fate of their Akshay Kumar starrer Padman which is all set for a grand Republic Day release. It also caused the producer to do a rethink on the launch of their haunting Anushka Sharma film Pari on February 9.

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When spoke to Bollywood trade experts, they ridiculed the idea of such a box office clash. “It’s funny,” said one, “because Sanjay Leela Bhansali has not yet carried out the five modifications on Padmavati recommended to him on December 30 by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and he does not have the anticipated U/A certificate in hand. Even out of mischief, to suggest that Viacom will release Padmavati on Republic Day to clash with KriArj’s Padman is to suggest that there is no ethics or unity among Bollywood’s filmmakers.”

Another trade pundit was more scathing. He asked bluntly, “If Padmavati comes out on January 26 withPadman, which film has more to lose? Do the math – it’s Padmavati only!” According to this trade expert,Padmavati was made at the extravagant cost of Rs. 180 crore, its P&A (print and advertising) budget is Rs. 35 crore and the film’s satellite and digital rights have been sold for Rs. 80 crore. Whereas Padmanwas made at a modest Rs. 20 crore, the film has a P&A budget of Rs. 15 crore, and its satellite rights were sold for Rs. 47 crore.”

The black and white reality of Bollywood’s numbers, according to the trade source, is that Padmavati will have to cross Rs. 210 crore all India to be an average film before it runs into profit and is declared a super-hit. Whereas Padman will be a super-hit as soon as it touches Rs. 65 crore! Padmavati will need to make Rs. 220 crore to think about profit and Padman will be in profit at Rs. 70-75 crore itself. “So, who has more to lose? Aside from this being a Padmavati versus Padman battle at the box office with screens being divided between the two films, it is also a Paramount Pictures versus Sony Pictures clash respectively over distribution and Sony is definitely more powerful overseas,” the trade pundit said. “Also,Padmavati’s makers should not forget that Akshay Kumar has always come out with powerful films that contain a social message on Republic Day (Airlift and Baby) and Independence Day (Rustom and Toilet: Ek Prem Katha). He is most certainly going to hit Padman, his film that boldly addresses the taboo subject of menstruation and sanitary care for women, out of the park this January 26.”