Akshay Kumar’s next Toilet — Ek Prem Katha will release on August 11 instead of June 2, leading to a head-on clash with the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Rehnuma. Trade analysts attempt to predict the outcome of the clash. And here’s what the issue essentially is. Of late, Akshay is consistently churning out successful films, with most managing Rs 100 crore returns. SRK’s past few films have met with middling success for a star of his stature. But the two have a history of clashes between them. Their first was in 1993 between Khan’s Maya Memsaab and Kumar’s Waqt Hamara Hai. Their last one was in 2013, when Chennai Express went up against Once Upon Ay Time In Mumbai Dobaara, which released a week after CE. AK won the first clash, SRK the last and the ones in between.
Exhibitor Akshaye Rathi opines, “While Akshay will rock it in India, Shah Rukh will do that overseas. They also have powerful distributors behind them, so it will be a clash of equals. Eventually of course, depending on the content, the better film will win — as it always does!” Super Cinema editor Amul Vikas Mohan admits it’s a big clash (SRK’s third in a row) but believes it’s too early to predict the box-office outcome as not a single frame of both films is out. But he does suggest a remedy. “What we do need is to have more screens in India and that’s what will really help.
We have around 200 films releasing a year, but only 52 weeks to release them, so it’s almost impossible to have solo-week releases always unless you are a solo star but that line, too, is blurring now,” he says. The date is important, too, he says, as it offers the films releasing on August 11 a five-day weekend ending on Independence day (Aug 15). He admits, “While Toilet could have been postponed because it was due to release in the middle of Ramzan, there’s no reason to make a fuss about August 11 as he and Neeraj Pandey had picked the date for Crack way before Shah Rukh and Imtiaz Ali announced their release date. All AK & Co are doing is coming with a different film on the same date. That’s all.”