After the underwhelming box office performance of Sriram Raghavan's Merry Christmas, all eyes are now on the Hrithik Roshan, Deepika Padukone and Anil Kapoor starrer Fighter — Bollywood’s tent pole release of 2024. The aerial action entertainer hit cinemas today and has already justified sky-high box office expectations, courtesy of blockbuster director Siddharth Anand, the A-list cast, and the mass-appealing genre.
With an estimated collection of 100 crores plus over the weekend, Fighter is poised to resume last year’s glorious box office run. However, this highly anticipated actioner will unfortunately be followed by a one-month-long dull theatrical period, with only one Bollywood film looking promising at the box office. The release calendar for February is no longer as exciting as it promised to be just a few months ago.
Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn, and Vicky Kaushal have postponed their releases from February, stripping the second month of the year of their star-studded cinematic affairs. Abhishek Kapoor's period drama, which marks the debut of Aaman Devgan and Rasha Thadani (Raveena Tandon’s daughter), with Ajay playing an extended cameo, was scheduled to release on February 9, but has now been delayed owing to the unfinished visual effects work. The makers haven't announced a new release date yet.
Dharma Production's untitled romantic comedy, starring Vicky Kaushal and Tripti Dimri and directed by Anand Tiwari, has also been withdrawn from the February calendar but for a positive reason. The unit had to wait to shoot songs since Vicky was in a particular look. Hence the delay. The production is now eyeing a summer release.
Another notable absence from the February lineup is Akshay Kumar’s Soorarai Pottru remake, initially slated to release on February 16. This true-to-life story has apparently hit a roadblock due to Akshay’s priorities over Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. The actor understandably wants the Ali Abbas Zafar film to release first. The Soorarai Pottru remake is now expected to be released mid-2024. There are also speculations about a potential direct-to-digital release within trade circles, but that is yet to be confirmed. Dibakar Banerjee’s Love Sex Aur Dhoka 2 (LSD2), originally scheduled for the Valentine's Day weekend, has also been removed from the February calendar.
All these postponements have collectively cast a shadow over February, diminishing its potential as a thriving month at the box office. Shahid Kapoor and Kriti Sanon’s Teri Baaton Mein Uljha Jiya, which is scheduled to release on February 9, is the only big Hindi release next month. Its trailer has been well received and the film might turn out to be yet another sleeper hit coming from Maddock Films after last year's Zara Hatke Zara Bachke. Vidyut Jammwal and Arjun Rampal’s Crakk: Jeethegaa Toh Jiyegaa, a sports action drama by Commando 3 director Aditya Datt, might also garner some attention upon its release on February 23.
Yami Gautam and Priyamani’s political thriller, Article 370 (February 23), and Vardhan Puri and Monica Chaudhary’s Dashmi (February 2) are more likely to come and go without anyone noticing them. Two South Indian, Hindi-dubbed films, Eagle and Operation Valentine, are also coming out. While Eagle is a Ravi Teja Telugu action thriller scheduled for February 9, Varun Tej’s patriotic, edge-of-the seat entertainer, Operation Valentine, opens on February 16.