Official Statement on #Raees Release Date by Ritesh Sidhwani
Has the somewhat lackluster box office performance of Fan shaken Shah Rukh Khan? This is the first time in years that a Shah Rukh Khan film hasn’t gone on to become a Rs 100 crore hit. Which is why the news that the release date of Raees has been pushed back (to avoid clashing with Salman Khan’s Sultan) by the superstar and his producers — Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani of Excel Entertainment — comes at an interesting time. Shah Rukh has never been one to shy away from a box office clash: Right from the time his Om Shanti Om went up against Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Saawariya to Jab Tak Hai Jaan versus Son of Sardar and most recently, the Dilwale-Bajirao Mastani showdown. And in all of these clashes, his films have always come out on top, business-wise — a testament to SRK’s unrivalled star power.
This is the first time that the King Khan has actually had a film rescheduled to avoid a big showdown. A statement released by Farhan, Ritesh and Shah Rukh read: “It was not an easy decision to move the film. We understand that this film is highly anticipated. However, a movie of such magnitude requires the appropriate showcasing and therefore, we have decided to shift our release date to 26 January 2017.”
While Raees won’t have a run-in with Sultan, there are two other films that are also eyeing the Republic Day 2017 release window — Hrithik Roshan’s Kaabil and Ajay Devgn’s Baadshaho. Incidentally, while a Diwali 2016 date was considered for Raees, Excel Entertainment did not finalise it as Devgn’s highly anticipated Shivay is already expected to release on the same day. Festival/holiday releases are coveted by filmmakers because it generally guarantees a great opening collection for a movie. All the 2016 festival dates have been “booked” — apart from Shivaay in Diwali, Akshay Kumar’s Rustom has an Independence Day opening, and Aamir Khan’s Dangal is slated for a Christmas release.
In this situation, there would have been no option for Raees but to move ahead to the first available holiday date in 2017. Raees, which marks the Bollywood debut of Pakistani actress Mahira Khan, recently found itself in trouble after Mushtaq Sheikh, the son of Abdul Latif — on whom SRK’s role in Raees is based — filed a defamation suit against Excel and the superstar.