Tracing the History of Bollywood’s Love for Diwali Movie Releases

October 18, 2020 Nila Choudhury     KissMeImNila

Diwali is a time for celebrations! South Asians who honor the festival go all out. There’s pooja’s, mithai, diyas, fireworks. Families and friends get together and make the most of the holiday. You know what else makes the most of this holiday? Bollywood! A ton of really good movies release on the big day. Audiences flock the theaters to watch a heartfelt family film or epic romances on-screen. Films would battle it out at the box office internationally to bank on the holiday’s auspicious times.

How did this trend start?

Diwali wasn’t always a holiday that filmmakers banked on to rake in the big bucks. In the early 90s, director Yash Chopra began the trend. It all started with the Anil Kapoor and Sridevi hit “Lamhe.” Released in 1991, to this day it’s considered one of Chopra’s finest films. It began the reign of Chopra and his son at the Diwali box office.

Yash Raj Films ruled the latter half of the 90s into the early 2000s with hit after hit released on Diwali including“Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge,” “Mohabbatein,” “Dil Toh Pagal Hai” and “Veer-Zaara.” Karan Johar joined forces with the Chopras to distribute his hit film “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai,” which rocked Diwali in 1998.

It seems fitting that Chopra’s last film, “Jab Tak Hain Jaan,” was also a mega hit released on Diwali. It’s safe to say that his legacy made the Diwali Bollywood blockbusters. However, somewhere in the 2000s, the sparkle of Diwali releases faded and films didn’t do as well at the box office. We had films like “Blue,” “All the Best,” “Saawariya,” “Kyon Ki” and more that failed miserably. Even Ranbir Kapoor’s booty shot in his debut film couldn’t save “Saawariya.”

Other holidays began to take over as memorable release dates. Look no further than Salman Khan’s trend of releasing films on Eid. It has boosted the value of film releases on the Muslim holiday. Akshay Kumar is the king of Independence day with his patriotic releases. Over the years, Eid, Republic Day and Independence day have taken over Diwali’s position as a lucrative film release day. This may have to do more with the lack of quality in Bollywood films today but even the dumbest Eid flick manages to pull in profits, so it’s hard to say.

In the past few years things have picked up slightly on Diwali, with releases like “Happy New Year,” “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo,” “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil,” and “Shivaay,” but it is still far from what the holiday used to represent. This year, Diwali sees the release of Aamir Khan’s “Secret Superstar” and Ajay Devgn, Arshad Warsi and gang return in their comedy sequel “Golmaal Again!!!”

Perhaps these new releases can bring the sparkle back to Diwali? We can only hope!

Check out the Diwali releases from 1990 to 2017!

2017:

“Amir Khan’s Secret Superstar”
“Golmaal Again!!!”

2016:

“Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”
“Shivaay”

2015

“Prem Ratan Dhan Payo”

2014

“Happy New Year”

2013

“Krrish 3”

2012

“Jab Tak Hain Jaan”
“Son of Sardaar”

2011

“Ra.One”

2010

“Golmaal 3”
“Action Replayy”

2009

“All the Best”
“Blue”
“Main Aur Mrs. Khanna”

2008

“Fashion”
“Golmaal Returns”

2007

“Om Shanti Om”
“Saawariya”

2006

“Don”
“Jaan-E-Man”

2005

“Kyon Ki”
“Garam Masala”

2004

“Veer-Zaara”
“Aitraaz”

2003

“Pinjar”
“Raja Bhaiya”

2002

“Jeena Sirf Mere Liye”
“Wah…Tera Kya Kehna?”

2001

“Yeh Zindagi Ka Safar”

2000

“Mission Kashmir”
“Mohabbatein”

1999

“Hum Saath Saath Hain”
“Shool”

1998

“Kuch Kuch Hota Hai”
“Bade Miyan Chote Miyan”

1997

“Dil Toh Pagal Hai”
“Deewana Mastana”
“Bhai”
“Musthafa”

1996

“Raja Hindustani”
“Ghatak”

1995

“Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge”
“Yaarana”

1994

“Hum Aapke Hain Koun”
“Suhaag”
“Andaaz Apna Apna”
“Yaar Gadaar”

1993

“Baazigar”
“Bedardi”

1992

“Jigar”

1991

“Lamhe”
“Akayla”

1990

“Jamai Raja”
“Agneekal”

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Nila Choudhury

New York born and raised, Nila Choudhury (aka the encyclopedia of useless Bollywood knowledge) is avoiding rishta aunties by obtaining her doctoral degree in clinical psychology.

KissMeImNila

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