Filmmakers nowadays put a lot of thought on finding the perfect release date for their film, making sure no two big films collide with each other. This is done so that their film gets undivided attention from the audience. However 20 years ago on 15th of July two films i.e. Gadar and Lagaan were released and both created history in Indian cinema. It was neither the first time two big movies clashed nor the first or last time both performed well, Dil and Ghayal had also clashed earlier and both were successful however the euphoria Gadar and Lagaan generated across the country was far massive.
Even their accolades were shared – if the Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan walked away with most of the award, including an Oscar nomination no less, then the Anil Sharma’s Gadar created history at the box office en route to becoming the highest grossing film ever in Indian cinema at the time.
Anil Sharma in an interview revealed that both films created nothing short of a festival across the nation. “The date, 15th June 2000, was a festival for cinema. Lagaan was also a very good film, I had seen it in the theatre, really enjoyed it and clapped a lot – it was really a great film and brought India a lot of honour. So it had worked very well, Gadar had also worked very well and a festival atmosphere was created throughout India. If people used to watch the 12 pm show of Lagaan, they’d go and see the 3 pm show of Gadar, and if they’d watch the 12 pm show of Gadar, then they’d see the 3 pm show of Lagaan, making it a craze, a festival for cinema all over India, created a lot of love for cinema in the country, and motivated many people to make good films. So, it wasn’t as much a clash as it was a celebration,”
He also expressed his disappointment in the fact that makers these days are scared of clashing with each other in theatres, thus stifling the prospect of another such festive atmosphere, Anilji added, “I wish that this happens every year that we get two such films yearly, but films are not clashing anymore. Nowadays people are afraid to clash – either your film should come or mine is their thought. Those days, both makers were confident about their films and were so sure that forget two, even six films could release simultaneously and work, who’d want to see them, would see them. Today, too, people watch 6-8 episodes on OTT in a stretch at home during lockdown, so they still have the stamina to watch, they watch if they wish to. But, filmmakers don’t have the same confidence now, they want to make a whack with their initial in three days and be satisfied. Earlier, people used to look forward to their film running a minimum of 25 weeks, now they’re not even interested in them running for three weekends, why are they so scared? It’s not like we don’t have good filmmakers today, we do, but somehow that perception, that feel, that mindset has changed. But we’ve seen it can still happen with an Avenger and a Baahubali. People no longer have faith on their own capacity; their capacity only has become zero.”
The filmmaker wishes that the industry sees more such Lagaans and Gadars, “I hope that those days of festivals and celebrations of cinema happen again every year, we all should hope that. At least, one film a year like Lagaan and Gadar should come on a Friday, where makers aren’t afraid which films they clash with. Instead, such films would compensate each other, hug each other and move forward, praise each other, and then you see how much fun everyone would have – public, cinema halls and the industry, all would have fun, that’s the atmosphere we need to create, that’s the dreamy atmosphere which had occurred between Lagaan and Gadar. I wish this atmosphere takes place at least once every year.” He concluded.