'Saawariya' to premiere two days ahead of release
In an unprecedented move, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Sony Pictures have decided to premiere "Saawariya" on Nov 7, two days ahead of its actual release. And the team is so confident about the final product that they say negative publicity won't harm the movie.
Normally films are premiered on Thursday, 14 hours ahead of release on Friday, so that the chances of negative publicity are minimised.
"But we've enough faith in our product not to be bothered by such considerations. To my mind Sanjay Leela Bhansali is the finest filmmaker in this country," Uday Singh, CEO of Sony Pictures, told IANS.
A lot is at stake as far as the film is concerned. The musical love story is the launch vehicle of two scions of Bollywood - Neetu and Rishi Kapoor's son Ranbir and Anil Kapoor's daughter Sonam. And their future depends on the success of the film.
Also starring Salman Khan and Rani Mukerji, the film is Bhansali's first venture after "Black".
Singh says they decided for an early show for the guests' sake.
"With Diwali on Nov 9 and people being busy preparing for puja in their homes, we didn't want to inconvenience our premiere guests. We aren't scared of showing the film two days in advance. We've seen the product and we now know Sanjay has given us a superlative film.
"In fact, we were keen on hosting the premiere of 'Saawariya' in New York, and we didn't mind doing the NY premiere almost a week before release. However, the special effects delayed the completion and the NY idea had to be dropped."
Shah Rukh Khan's much talked about "Om Shanti Om" is also releasing the same day.
Commenting on that, Singh said: "During the festive mood we believe people are ready to go out and spend money on two movies. And it doesn't matter to us which film they see first as long as we bring them out of their homes. Having said that, let me remind people that we announced our release date in the trade a year back.
"If suddenly competition creeps up on us, so be it. They're two completely different films. And the market is large enough for both. Shah Rukh Khan is undoubtedly the king, whereas Sanjay Bhansali a unique creator. Maybe it's time for audiences to dig deep into their wallets during the festive season."
Sony is releasing about 600 prints of "Saawariya" in India and approximately 900 more globally.
"We're primarily targeting the film at NRI audiences abroad, plus a limited art house release for non-Indians. If that works, we'll pump up the release but no chances of dubbing 'Saawariya'. Today's audiences are far more tolerant of subtitles, what with their eyes constantly multi-tasking on the TV screen," said Singh.