Gangubai Kathiawadi to open in theatres on Feb 18; Laal Singh Chaddha and KGF: Chapter 2 on Apr 14

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#2022 film releases, #2022 Hindi films, #Bachchan Pandey, #Bollywood releases, #Business of Bollywood, #covid impact, #Covid theatres, #Delhi theatres, #Excel Entertainment, #Film release date, #Gangubai Kathiawadi, #Heropanti 2, #Holi releases, #KDF: Chapter 2, #Laal Singh Chaddha, #Mumbai theatres, #RRR

‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ is slated for a Baisakhi 2022 release. (Image: Twitter.)

Akshay Kumar and Sajid Nadiadwala have again opted to lead from the front. Last year, they announced the release of Sooryavanshi and Tadap, respectively, which kickstarted things at the theatres after several lacklustre months.

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This year, they’ve paired up for Bachchan Pandey, which is the first big film to unveil its release date – a risky move, since theatres have been closed in the Capital and are operating at reduced occupancy in other places including Mumbai.

Meanwhile, the makers of RRR have also shared their plans (they have two plans, in case of a contingency). And Aamir Khan has reiterated his decision around Laal Singh Chaddha, hence bringing in an air of positivity. KGF: Chapter 2 is sticking to its plans as well.

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Let’s talk about Bachchan Pandey first. This one is a big film, with Akshay Kumar and Sajid Nadiadwala coming together for the first time since Housefull 4 – a Rs 200 crore club superhit. Farhad Samji, who had directed Housefull 4, is calling the shots for Bachchan Pandey as well.

The film’s release announcement for March 18, Holi, came as a pleasant surprise since post ’83 no new movie has released. Once Delhi theatres closed, there was a ripple effect felt across other states as well. Thankfully, there is no blanket closure, as was the case in the first and the second wave, and most importantly Maharashtra is still open, albeit at 50% occupancy. Naturally, industry insiders are watching closely, to understand when Delhi theatres will resume operations and Haryana too will reopen its cinema shutters.

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It is apparent that filmmakers have started seeing that as a possibility in the not too distant future, and hence film-release plans are being put in place all over again. One thing is clear that there won’t be a wait of six months or more for theatres to reopen, as was the case in 2020 and 2021 when the entire period from April to October was entirely barren. With the third wave expected to peak soon, film business experts opine that it should be back to business as usual by mid-February.

This is one of the major reasons why Sanjay Leela Bhansali has not yet said anything about the (new) release plans for his much awaited Gangubai Kathiawadi. The film’s release date stays on to be February 18, and though it hasn’t been moved ahead in anticipation of things turning out normal, it would need at least a three-week promotion and marketing window. Hence, if a final decision has to be taken, it should be in the coming week.

No wonder, those associated with RRR have got their Plan A and Plan B in place. They have shared their arrival for March 18 or April 28, depending upon the pandemic situation. While former date falls on Holi, the latter leads to Eid. There is a bit of issue here, though. While RRR is inarguably the biggest film from the Indian film industry since the Baahubali series, both release dates have already been taken. While Bachchan Pandey was the first to stake claim on this, Ajay Devgn’s Runway 34 and Tiger Shroff’s Heropanti 2 are slated for an April 28 release.

Wait, there is more. Heropanti 2 again has Sajid Nadiadwala as the producer, which means the filmmaker is getting challenged either ways by RRR. In the middle of this all, there is Aamir Khan who is holding on to the release date for his Laal Singh Chaddha as April 14, which is on the auspicious occasion of Baisakhi. He is the first to have come out and announced that there won’t be a change in release date. The release date for Yash starrer KGF: Chapter 2 is unchanged as well. Excel Entertainment is not saying it yet, but it’s sticking to its April 14 plans for now.

It is quite apparent that the big guns of Bollywood and south are aiming to stake their claim to the best of the release dates. Unlike the last two waves when things had come to a standstill for a long period of time, and hence had given ample time for the biggest of the filmmakers to strategize their release dates at much more ease, the time to come would be a lot more cut-throat since everyone involved has hundreds of crores at stake. While this is indeed a problem for people in the film industry, for audiences there is a lot to look forward to.

A couple of weeks more and the situation should become a lot clearer around the eventual opening of theatres and the films that arrive on particular dates.

Confirmed release dates

Gangubai Kathaiwadi – 18 February (well, almost)

Bachchan Pandey – 18 March

RRR – 18 March or 28 April

Laal Singh Chaddha – 14 April

KGF – 14 April

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