- Padmavati's release date has now been postponed
- "The impact will be huge," says Manoj Desai
- The makers of the film might face a loss of Rs 200 crore
The postponement of Padmavati leaves December 1 almost unoccupied at the box office - Kapil Sharma's Firangi and Sunny Leone's Tera Intezaar have been pushed to fill Padmavati's slot but neither is a film is big enough to plug the gap. Manoj Desai, Executive Director of Mumbai multiples Gaiety Galaxy, said, "People have only seen the songs and promos of the film, the film is made on a budget of around Rs 190 crore and due to its release date being postponed, the makers will face a loss of more than 200 crore."
The Censor Board's decision to reject Padmavati was based on several factors, chief among them the fact that director Sanjay Leela Bhansali had organised private screenings of the film without the censor's certificate. The Board also stressed on Padmavati's failure to meet the deadline for submission - films are supposed to be sent in 68 days before its scheduled release date for certification. Several, like Padmavati, don't which the Board says leads to pressure on the panel to pass the film in question with few or no edits.
If the Censor Board, now headed by Prasoon Joshi, holds other films to this 68-day rule as it has done with Padmavati, it could mean potential postponements for upcoming films such as Salman Khan's Tiger Zinda Hai which was the next big release lined up for December.
Speaking to NDTV, Manoj Desai said he hoped the producers of Padmavati and the protesting groups like Rajasthan's Karni Sena would meet and resolve issues. When the film does release, it is expected to do good business, Mr Desai said.
Padmavati, starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor, was seen as the light at the end of the tunnel by a profit-starved Bollywood in a year that has seen few hits other than Baahubali, Golmaal Again and Judwaa 2. The film has, however, struggled ever since the sets and director Sanjay Leela Bhansali were attacked in Jaipur by the Karni Sena in January.
In the months since, protests have included vandalization of the costumes and props as well as a bounty placed on the heads of Mr Bhansali and lead actress Deepika Padukone, playing the title role of Rani Padmini. Chief ministers of some states, among them Rajasthan and Punjab, have also opposed Padmavati.
Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor, cast as Khilji and Padmini's husband Ratan Singh, appear to have escaped the sort of abuse directed at their director and co-star. Earlier this week, Ranveer said that he had been asked not to speak about the controversy but clarified that he was with the film and Mr Bhansali "200 %."
With Padmavati being pushed back, 2018 is shaping up to be a potentially blockbuster year, what with the rescheduling of Rajinikanth's 2.0 for the Republic Day weekend.