'Really, it couldn't have been a worse time for Bollywood with bad quality movies dominating from January till March, producers calling a strike in April and then May seeing IPL at its ferocious best,' rues Madhur Bhandarkar, who is currently busy shooting 'Jail'.
After a disastrous first quarter of 2009, this seems to be the industry's worst dream coming true with hardly any films being confirmed for the next two months except 'Kal Kissne Dekha' (releasing May 1) and 'Kambakkth Ishq', scheduled to open May 29.
The period from January to March has been terrible to say the least as films flopped left, right and centre. Each of the biggies failed at the box office, whether it was 'Chandni Chowk To China', 'Billu Barber' or 'Dilli 6'. Successes like 'Dev D' and 'Raaz - The Mystery Continues' haven't been big enough to compensate for the losses.
'There have to be many more money spinners like 'Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi', 'Om Shanti Om', 'Dhoom 2', 'Singh Is Kinng' and 'Ghajini' arriving back to back in theatres,' the filmmaker added.
There is little chance that the films in the coming quarter could do the trick because of the two roadblocks - the producers versus multiplexes stand-off and the IPL.
To begin with the first issue, this time around the producers have tightened their stand as a result of which no new films will be released from April 4 onwards.
'So strong has been the outlook of producers towards the entire issue, rightly so, that there are no promos of any upcoming movie which is currently on air. This means that the makers are more than 100 percent convinced that the stand-off is not expected to end before the month of May begins,' a distributor said on condition of anonymity.
With the month of April being completely lost except the Akshay Kumar-starrer '8X10 Tasveer', all eyes will be on the releases taking place in May, provided the strike is over by then with producers and multiplexes arriving at some sort of resolution.
In May, Bollywood will face tough competition from the IPL matches.
Most of the month there will be the Twenty20 matches that would be watched by millions of Indians between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. And trade experts feel this translates into loss of prime time of movie-watching, with films likely to play in empty houses till May 24.
Not that May would be devoid of any releases though. As per the original schedule (when producers hadn't called a strike), movies like 'New York', 'Life Partner', 'Raftaar 24x7', 'Shortcut - The Con is On', 'Jashn' and 'Kal Kissne Dekha' were all confirmed for release.
However, with all plans going topsy-turvy, the only two confirmed releases of the month are 'Kal Kissne Dekha' and 'Kambakkth Ishq'.
(Joginder Tuteja can be contacted at [email protected])