Just as memories of January’s bitter box office clash between Raees and Kaabil were beginning to fade, it was announced that Akshay Kumar’s Toilet: Ek Prem Katha will take on Imtiaz Ali’s film starring Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma. While Akki’s film was slated to release on June 2, producer Prerna Arora says decision to delay the film was technical, not spiteful.
“We had announced Akshay-starrer Crack for August 11, 2017. Due to a few production reasons, the film took longer than expected to go on floors. In the meantime, we had starting shooting Toilet. Initially, we thought of releasing the film on June 2, but the film’s subject is such that taking it to theatres closer to Independence Day makes more sense. The film is a satire on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and has a nationalistic feel to it. It has to be pitched on the right day. We aren’t clashing just for the sake of it,” argues Prerna.
A still from Toilet: Ek Prem Katha
The Neeraj Pandey-directorial follows what happens when a couple cannot be together because their house doesn’t have a toilet. Prerna reasons both SRK and Akki’s films have different target audiences. “From what I know, it (reportedly titled Rehnuma) is not a usual Imtiaz Ali fare. It has a mega star like Shah Rukh Khan to pull the audience. People can watch both and like them. I hear talk about eating into each other’s business, but this is healthy competition.”
Does she intend to meet Imtiaz and SRK to change their release date? “There is no point pushing either dates and we aren’t looking at getting into a conversation on it [with them]. Anushka and I are already working on a project; we will announce it next week and start shoot in June. Expect news on how we are trying to run down each other, but in reality, everything is amicable. Both SRK and Akshay are marketing wizards and know how to reach out to fans.”