UPDATE: Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment dropped two posters for his Eid 2016 flick Raees earlier today, setting the stage for a showdown with Salman Khan who has Sultan on the same date next year. Upping the ante again, Red Chillies has just added a teaser trailer for Raees. Check it out above (unsubtitled).
PREVIOUS: Eid 2015 doesn’t start in India until tomorrow, but Bollywood mega-star Shah Rukh Khan is already intensifying the race to stake out the lucrative holiday in 2016. Tomorrow sees the release of Salman Khan’s anticipated Bajrangi Bhaijaan and box office rival SRK has just released the first posters (see below) for Raees, the crime drama that he stars in next year at this time. Thing is, Salman Khan also has a movie, Yash Raj’s Sultan, coming out next year on the Eid holiday he has traditionally owned. Back in 2013, Salman sat out Eid and SRK stepped in with then record-breaker Chennai Express. Next year, they’re going head-to-head.
Raees hails from Excel Entertainment and SRK’s own Red Chillies Entertainment, and is directed by Rahul Dholakia. It co-stars Farhan Akhtar, Nawazuddin Siddiqui (who’s in Bajrangi Bhaijaan) and Mahira Khan and tells the story of a bootlegger whose business is thwarted by a tough policeman. The poster’s tagline is in Hindi with a Gujarati twist, which I’m told would be difficult to directly translate into English. Red Chillies says it loosely works out to SRK’s character having the mind of a miser when it comes to business, and that of a daredevil when it comes to being brave.
There is speculation that either Khan may ultimately blink in the run-up to next year’s Eid and step off the holiday. But SRK recently told a Mumbai press conference that the dueling 2016 films don’t represent a clash. “There are only 365 days, 54 Fridays. We make 200 films, it’s bound to happen that some films will release on the same Friday and most of the people involved in both these films are friends.” He agreed that grosses will end up split, but added, “As far as the whole team on both sides is concerned, we are very respectable, loving and friendly people with each other. So we’ll work out things in a way we get the best business time as possible.”
The intention not to blink looks pretty clear with today’s poster release for Raees. To give a sense of just how big a deal these films are, the top trend on Twitter India today is #Raees; with #BajrangiBhaijaanTomorrow at No. 3. And here’s the teaser that Yash Raj released on June 23 to announce the release date of Sultan for next year (story continues below):
Meanwhile, SRK, arguably the industry’s best-known global hitmaker, is muscling back into other territory as well. His Diwale, from Chennai helmer Rohit Shetty, releases at Christmastime — the same period where Aamir Khan has had enormous success the last two years with back-to-back record-breakers Dhoom 3 and PK.
Here’s one of the Raees posters released today: