Hindi cinema, popularly known as Bollywood, has always been associated with superstitions, myths, and good omens when it comes to releasing their mega-projects. The use of numerology in the film titles is widely evident, and the releases planned around the festivals, mainly in the second half of the year, have been there since the last century.
However, one of the major festive times of the year is not considered auspicious but a jinx supported by facts continuing for the last two decades in particular. This happens to be the first week of the new year, the first Friday of the year, which has rarely been fruitful and positive for the Hindi film industry. Not long back, even the month of January was considered jinxed, but the belief thankfully got broken by films celebrating success in the next three weeks of the month.
The makers and exhibitors of the much-awaited projects still shy away from the first Friday of the year as they have the history providing a valid reason to do that. Taking into account the new millennium since 2000, mostly the lesser-known and small-time films have been released in this week, with just a couple of exceptions to the list becoming a profitable fare. For instance, in the last two decades, the one film that became a success releasing on the first Friday of the year is ‘No One Killed Jessica’ in the year 2011. Apart from that, hits have been there in the next few Fridays of the month, but not in the first week.
Interestingly, the first Friday jinx is not entirely a jinx, having some logical reasoning. While fatigue is reportedly there among the public post two continuing events of Christmas and New Year, their fresh expenses are also on hold for the next few days. Besides, the big-budget, star-studded releases in the last week of December continue their reign in the theatres, demanding a one-week gap.
It is also the week when the schools and colleges reopen post the short holiday break. Plus, the extremely cold weather conditions in the major belt of North India, including Delhi, UP, Haryana, and Punjab, also remain the key reason for people not visiting the theatres, particularly in the morning and night shows resulting in a lower footfall.
Considering this largely believed and religiously followed notion in the film industry, it was surprising to see the release date announced for the biggest venture of the Indian cinema RRR on January 7, the first Friday of the year 2022. Strangely, just when the day was coming closer, the nation reported a surge in Covid-19 cases in many major cities, and the state governments have announced partial lockdowns in key territories like Delhi, including the closure of theatres.
The situation isn’t anything close to normal, and further strict measures are expected to come in the next few days. In the present circumstances, nothing can be commented upon the film’s release as it has now been officially postponed. No doubt, the first Friday jinx has continued its trend, yet again in 2022.
(The writer is a critic-columnist, an explorer of cinema and author of ‘Did You Know’ series on Hindi films also active at bobbytalkscinema.com)
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