It was a classic case of Bollywood's obsession with opening weekend numbers when Shah Rukh Khan requested actor-friend Riteish Deshmukh to advance the release of his Marathi film to ensure an open run for his much-awaited film, Zero. Now, the superstar suddenly finds competition in an unexpected quarter.
South star Yash's Kannada film, KGF: Chapter 1, is set to lock horns with the Aanand L Rai-directed venture on December 21.
Interestingly, the Hindi version of the multi-lingual is being presented by Khan's producer friends, Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani. Point out that taking on Khan at the box office is no mean feat, and Yash smiles, "I am a big fan of Shah Rukh Khan. We are aware of his strengths. He is a superstar, but we have a bigger market in the South. Bollywood films have little share in those regions."
While makers of the Anushka Sharma and Katrina Kaif starrer had booked the Christmas slot last year, Yash admits that they zeroed in on the date only recently.
"There were no second thoughts about the date. We felt the window was ideal as it is the start of the holiday season," he says, adding that there is enough space for two big outings to co-exist. "Two films releasing on the same day should not be a problem. Both films belong to different genres."
Set against the backdrop of the Kolar gold mines, the period drama is the first of a two-part series.
Confident of the Prashanth Neel-directed venture, Yash says the final product and not the release date determines a film's success. "We are happy with the date and confident about the film. At the end of the day, the audience decides on the basis of what you have done."