Nayandeep Rakshit (DNA; April 13, 2017)

Rohit Shetty is known to make films in record time. With Golmaal Again, too, he is expected to retain that reputation. The first schedule of the film in Mumbai has already ended and the team is already shooting in Hyderabad for their second leg of the shoot.

There’s a reason behind it. Says our source from the production, “Rohit and Ajay want to release GA this year. The franchise has a huge recall value and is one of the biggest commercial bonanzas expected this year. But the makers aren’t getting a desired holiday date for their film.”

It was earlier scheduled to release on Diwali but then, the makers of the Akshay

Kumar-Rajinikanth starrer 2.0 announced that they will hit screens on the same day. Ever since, there have been reports that the Golmaal team backed out of the clash, leaving Aamir Khan’s Secret Superstar to take advantage of the vacant spot that weekend. But that’s far from the truth.

Reports our khabri, “Ajay and the Reliance heads (who are backing the film) were in talks with distributors and were enquiring if, despite the clash, they would still manage to get at least 2,400-2,600 screens for their film. The distributors had assured him that much initially, and it’s not surprising given that it’s a Rohit Shetty entertainer and more than that, a really popular franchise.”

But something went wrong. An exhibitor tells us, “2.0 is going to dominate down South, because it is a Rajinikanth film and it’s no secret that he is worshipped in the region. His films are made for the masses. Also, one must not forget that the major reason why Akshay Kumar works for that film is because of his huge hold in North India, which most dubbed South films lack. So, 2.0 is going to work big time up North as well and that meant major screen crunch for Golmaal 4 if it clashed with the Rajini-Akshay starrer. Another huge reason why Golmaal and 2.0 cannot clash is because they are made for similar audiences — the youth and families. But Aamir’s Secret Superstar has a very different audience base — it’s made largely for the metro urban multiplex audiences and is a relatively niche film. So Secret Superstar won’t be that affected by the release of 2.0 on Diwali. Whoever wants to watch it will anyway watch it and Aamir knows this film won’t bring in the numbers his other films do. After all, he just has an extended guest appearance”

Aamir realised that since his film is high on content, more than a clash, the lifetime collections would matter. With Akshay’s Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and Shah Rukh Khan’s next with Imtiaz Ali clashing the very next week, Secret Superstar would have been left with almost no screens. That won’t happen during Diwali. The source further reveals, “Aamir too was in talks with distributors just like Ajay and he needed an even lesser number of screens because Secret Superstar is a small film. He went ahead and made the announcement first. Now Ajay won’t make it a three-way clash by announcing Golmaal on the same day. So they are zeroing in on another date.”

Like we told you, the team wanted to release the film this year. And all other holiday dates are already occupied by one or even more films. The only date that remains is November 17. The same source tells us, “Sanjay Leela Bhansali announced the release of Padmavati on November 17. Sanjay has a meeting on April 20 with Ajit Andhare, head of Viacom 18, producer of Padmavati to discuss the plan ahead. Shoots were stalled and disrupted and they want to decide the way forward. But there’s one thing for sure — Bhansali was back to shoot within days of that ruckus, so he definitely wants to wrap up Padmavati as soon as possible for the film to be completely ready for a November 2017 release as planned. In case it doesn’t make the cut, Ajay and Rohit want to keep their film ready so that they can come on that day. It’s a good day because there will be a clear two-week free run post November 17.”

Another exhibitor tells us, “Reliance has discussed all the possibilities of releasing GA. From what we hear, Bhansali is shooting at a crazy speed to wrap up Padmavati and 90 per cent chances are that the period saga will indeed release on November 17. That throws Ajay and Rohit out of the game again. Rohit won’t clash with Bhansali again, after what happened with Dilwale. Reliance also won’t take the risk. The producers (Reliance) have told us they want to now release GA in the first quarter of 2018 in case nothing works out. But even then, Republic Day is already taken.”

So much golmaal with the release date!