New Delhi, Oct 19 (UNI) As Bollywood bates its breath for the ''Battle Royale'' this Diwali between Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "ode to love" 'Saawariya' and Farah Khan's "tribute to the 70s cinema" 'Om Shanti Om', Bollywood Superstar Shah Rukh Khan is quite smug about the chances of his next production venture.
''The beauty of my career has been that every year I do not have to compete with any films but my own. This year the biggest hit is 'Chak De India' and my job with 'Om Shanti Om' will be to beat 'Chak De India'. There is no other film for me to beat. My competition is only with myself,'' Says the Bollywood Superstar on the eve of the release of 'Om Shanti Om', featuring himself along with model-turned actor Deepika Padukone.
'Om Shanti Om' is scheduled to release on Diwali along with Sanjay Leela Bhansali's much-hyped film 'Saawariya', which marks the debut of Rishi Kapoor's son Ranbir and Anil Kapoor's daughter Sonam, a clash which trade analysts describe as the "mother of all battles".
Asked whether he felt the release of 'Saawariya' and 'Om Shanti om' on the same date would cut into the business of the two films, Shah Rukh, on a recent visit to the city, said,''I do not think so.
I feel there are enough theatres to screen both the films.'' On whether he felt a sense of competition with the simultaneous release of 'Saawariya', Shah Rukh said,''as an actor I have no problems, no competition from 'Saawariya' because people associated with the film are my friends, be it Sonam or Salman or Rani.
director Sanjay Leela Bhansali too is a close friend who has given me the nicest film of my career ('Devdas').
But as a producer of 'Om Shanti Om', yes, I am very competitive.
For me, the most important thing at present is 'Om Shanti Om'. And I will give a tough fight to Sony Columbia Tristar films. You can come from America and have a lot of money but you can't win the love of Indians. I have the love of Indians. I am 'Chak De India' and will make sure they have a tough fight on their hands.'' ''I am sure all the Indians will come to see 'Om Shanti om' on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and, all Americans will watch 'Saawariya'.
Meanwhile, the film trade waits with bated breath for the clash between the two biggies. Going by the publicity blitz accompanying the films, 'Om Shanti Om' and 'Saawariya' have emerged the most hyped films of this year.
The release of the film may still be a month away but the producers of the two films have set their marketing machineries in fuill swing in a bid to woo the cinegoers.
With the stakes being high ( both 'Saawariya' and 'Om Shanti Om' have been made at a budget of over Rs 30 crore), the last few weeks have witnessed a race for upmanship between the makers of the films to outdo each other in terms of publicising their films.
A few weeks ago, Ranbir and Sonam, the two debutant actors of 'Saawariya' appeared on the 'Voice Of India' television show on Star along with the film's director Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Not to be left behind, the director of 'Om Shanti Om' Farah Khan and its lead actress Deepika Padukone made an appearance on Zee's 'Sa Re Ga Ma Pa' show.
While 'Om Shanti Om' tied up with Shopper's Stop for the merchandising of it's costumes, it was Pantaloon that tied up for the merchandising of clothes worn in 'Saawariya'.
The producers of 'Om Shanti Om' Red Chillies is in the process of signing a deal for promotion of the film in association with brands like Nokia and the cosmetics company Maybelline.
At the same time, producers of 'Saawariya', Sony Columbia Tristar Films have signed a in-film merchandise deal with Kishore Biyani's Future Group which involves a 'Saawariya' range of menswear, home products and beauty products to be retailed at Big Bazaar stores.
Sony Pictures have also signed a Rs five-crore contest-based promotion with Neo Sports for the ongoing India-Australia cricket series.
Only time will tell who will emerge the winner in this "clash of the titans". However, the ultimate winner in all this will be the business of films in India which will witness a heightened curiosity among cinegoers for the films and consequently increasing number of them heading for the cinema halls.