Varun Dhawan's Rannbhoomi gets Diwali 2020 release: Are Gen X actors taking over from reigning superstars?

Seema Sinha

Feb,20 2018 17:02:17 IST

With Varun Dhawan’s Rannbhoomi announced for a Diwali 2020 release it has becoming increasingly clear that the younger actors of Bollywood are ready to take over from the reigning superstars.

The Eid, Diwali and Christmas holidays for the next two years are all booked by the three big Khans – Salman, Aamir and Shah Rukh; just how it has been for over a decade now. Here's a look at the calendar for the first half of this decade, since 2011 – Eid: Salman (Bodyguard), Diwali and Christmas: Shah Rukh (Ra.One and Don 2); 2012 — Eid and Christmas: Salman (Ek Tha Tiger and Dabangg 2), Diwali – Shah Rukh and Ajay Devgn (Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Son of Sardaar); 2013 – Eid: Shah Rukh (Chennai Express), Diwali: Hrithik Roshan (Krissh 3), Christmas: Aamir (Dhoom 3); 2014 – Eid: Salman (Kick), Diwali: Shah Rukh (Happy New Year), Christmas: Aamir (PK); 2015 – Eid and Diwali: Salman (Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo), Christmas: Shah Rukh (Dilwale).

It is in 2016 when things started to change.

Till then, as you can see, except on two occasions when Hrithik and Ajay released their films on a festival, all other big holidays were booked by the Khans. In fact, at times, even 26 January and 15 August were taken by them. It had almost become an unwritten rule in Bollywood.

Screen grabs from YouTube trailers

Dilwale and Bajirao Mastani. Screen grabs from YouTube trailers

But Bajirao Mastani starring Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone changed the rule by locking horns with Shah Rukh’s Dilwale on 2015's Christmas weekend. It was a rather cheeky thing to do as Ranveer, till that point, had had only one big hit in Ram Leela, while Shah Rukh, after a low phase, was on a recovery path with back to back successes in Chennai Express and Happy New Year. Though on the surface it was made to look like it was not a deliberate clash, as Bajirao Mastani was announced first, but anyone could have guessed that Dilwale would release on Christmas, because Eid and Diwali that year were already taken by Salman for Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo respectively.

The results of the clash shocked everyone, and though Dilwale took an opening almost double of Bajirao, eventually Bajirao Mastani out grossed Dilwale by over 25 per cent.

Soon Ranbir Kapoor’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil was announced for a Diwali release in 2016. However, with Salman on Eid (Sultan) and Aamir on Christmas (Dangal) that year it was Ajay Devgn’s Shivaay that clashed with Ranbir’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil as Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees got postponed for the next year.

2017 looked like it was poised for another big clash. With Salman having booked both, Eid and Christmas for Tubelight and Tiger Zinda Hai (TZH) respectively, Ajay Devgn’s Golmaal Again was announced for Diwali. Speculations were rife that Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s third consecutive magnum opus, Padmaavat (then called Padmavati) with Deepika, Ranveer and Shahid Kapoor might clash with TZH in the Christmas weekend. But, as it turned out, the younger stars’ film was announced for 1 December rather than the Christmas weekend.

Later, however, it had to be postponed to 26 January due to widespead political protests. This incidentally (and interestingly) managed to move Akshay Kumar’s Padman to a later date.

Padman and Padmavati (now Padmaavat) were touted to clash at the box office.

Around this time a curious game of grabbing release dates began, much in advance. Salman, who had not bothered to announce Tubelight’s Eid 2017 date, suddenly announced Race 3 for Eid 2018; Bharat for Eid 2019 and Kick for Christmas 2019 almost two years in advance. Hrithik went a step ahead and announced Krissh 4 for Christmas 2020, three years in advance. Ajay Devgn’s big budgeted historical Tanaji, on the other hand, was announced for Diwali 2019, two years in advance. And Diwali 2018 was already booked by Aamir for Thugs Of Hindostan.

However, it seems that 2018 is not going to be without a clash of generations.

Shah Rukh’s Aanand L Rai-directed Zero, which is supposed to release on Christmas weekend, had a competitor in the form of Sushant Singh Rajput (Kedarnath). On the other hand, Ranveer’s Rohit Shetty-directed Simmba has been announced for the following week on 28 December. Which means in all probability it will be a triangular contest for Shah Rukh this Christmas season, unless one of the films move.

Karan Johar, Varun Dhawan and Shashank Khaitan announce Rannbhoomi.

And at this curious stage, comes a rather bold move of announcing Varun Dhawan’s Rannbhoomi for Diwali 2020. It is interesting for two reasons: One, though Varun has the best track record among the younger stars with not a single of his nine films flopping, he is still not been able to breach the 150 crore mark at the box office. But the bigger reason is this: there are speculations that the first part of Aamir’s most ambitious venture – The Mahabharat trilogy – maybe announced for Diwali 2020. Which means Varun may have to clash with the international box office king, Aamir Khan. His clout is only likely to get bigger with Thugs Of Hindostan.

Will there be more younger stars clashing with the reigning superstars over the next few years by grabbing the big festival dates? Only time will tell.

Published Date: Feb 20, 2018 17:02 PM | Updated Date: Feb 21, 2018 08:21 AM