Sunday 30 October is set to mark Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights which symbolically celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. Diwali weekend is always huge in Bollywood (so are Eid and Christmas weekends, for that matter). Opening weekends around the time of these major religious holidays get blocked out months in advance for certain films, which are usually star-studded and have juicy storylines. Religious holidays mean that kids are off from school and people are in more generous moods when it comes to spending money. In addition, with the rise of digital piracy, films have to maximise box office revenue before they areÂ leaked online.
Each of the three Khan stars – all unrelated to one another – have their respective weekends to shine. Diwali is Shah Rukh Khanâ€™s to own, Aamir Khan takes Christmas, and Eid belongs to Salman Khan. Sometimes they swop with one another (Shah Rukhâ€™s Dilwale took last Christmas) and sometimes it isnâ€™t a huge role (Shah Rukhâ€™s role this Diwali is just a cameo in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil).
For Diwali 2016, there are two mega releases – both opening in South Africa on Friday 28 October: Karan Joharâ€™s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, and Ajay Devgnâ€™s Shivaay.
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil
Starring industry cool kids Anushka Sharma and Ranbir Kapoor, alongside Bollywood royalty, superstar Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan, and featuring a cameo by the one and only Shah Rukh Khan, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is one of those Bollywood films with a love story at its core (obvs), and featuring a bit of everything else. Of course, itâ€™s directed by Karan Johar – the same genius who gave us the gifts that are Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham – and is his first film after a long break, so weâ€™re looking forward to a new classic.
The film hasnâ€™t been without controversy though. Pakistani actor Fawad Khan has a small role in it, something which has come under fire in the wake of the Indian Motion Picture Producersâ€™ Association (IMPPA) calling for a ban on working with Pakistani artists after the Uri attack in September in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir.
Produced by, directed by and starring Ajay Devgan – AKA Mr Kajol – Shivaay is an action-filled thriller about a Himalayan mountaineer who has to put everything on the line as he tries to save his family, channelling the characteristics of the Hindu Lord Shiva as he does so.
Ajav Devgan goes by the name of Ajay Devgn for ths film, for superstitious reasons – in numerology, letters are assigned numbers, and the misspelling of his name renders Devgan better luck with his film.
Shivaay, too, has been dragged into the controversy, with Devgan accusing Karan Johar of paying Bollywood actor and producer Kamal Rashid Khan (KRK) Rs 25 lakhs (R 518, 200) to support Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Johar denied comment on the whole issue.
Will you be watching these movies this weekend? Send us your thoughts on them if you do – and from the entire Daily Vox team, happy Diwali to those celebrating!âœ¨