Christmas won't be Merry in January!

The whisper in Bollywood trade circles is that Sriram Raghavan’s thriller Merry Christmas is an absolute dud. There’s neither the joy nor spirit of this year-end festival in it. And perhaps lacking confidence in the 2021 announced film starring Katrina Kaif and Vijay Sethupathi, its producers have delayed Merry Christmas’ release for reportedly the third time. Now to January 12, 2024 from December 8, 2023.

Raghavan’s film has been jinxed from the beginning. Its start in April 2021 was delayed by the second wave of Covid. It was intended to be a theatrical release for Christmas 2022. But the makers apparently chickened out when they realised that Rohit Shetty’s comedy Cirkus starring Ranveer Singh was releasing on the same date, according to a report on October 29, 2022 in Times Entertainment.

So Merry Christmas was moved to December 15, 2023. Which quickly changed to December 8. But subsequently fearing a total decimation of their “genre-defying” film by the other big ticket promising Bollywood releases next month like Animal and Sam Bahadur first and then Dunki and Salaar after that, its producers decided to push Merry Christmas to next year.

“The wait is almost over! Merry Christmas is making your winter merrier on January 12, 2024,” an Instagram post by the makers said, promising to extend the festive season of joy. Totally ignoring the fact that a film with Christmas in the title ought to release during Christmas week. And that, just as there is zero buzz about this Katrina-Sethupathi starrer, there is no festive season in the middle of January anywhere.

A trade pundit said, “Merry Christmas was shifted to avoid clashes with Katrina’s husband Vicky Kaushal's Sam Bahadur and ex-beau Ranbir Kapoor’s Animal. Even Netflix’s The Archies, releasing with seven debutants on December 7, got more buzz. Anticipation in January is for Rohit Shetty’s Amazon Prime Video cop drama Indian Police Force with Siddharth Malhotra and Shilpa Shetty and the Hrithik Roshan-Deepika Padukone actioner Fighter. You just cannot have Christmas in January!”