It's also the season when the best films are released. Top filmmakers, eager to cash in on the festive mood, carefully schedule their releases.
At least one major film releases on Diwali each year. Most of them are successful. What brings about this success is debatable. But the holiday spirit is acknowledged as a major factor.
Film Information's Komal Nahta has an interesting observation: "Any genre of films works on Diwali." It is not necessary for the Diwali release to be a comedy, a romance or something that the family can enjoy together.
Which brings us to this year's releases.
Mohabbatein and Mission Kashmir. One is a love story; the other, an action flick.
The Chopra Factor
Yash Chopra has an affinity for Diwali.
In 1995, his Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge looted the Diwali box office.
Two Diwalis later, he returned with another smash Dil To Pagal Hai.
In 1998, he distributed Kuch Kuch Hota Hai -- a huge moneyspinner that was also the directorial debut of his friend's son, Karan Johar.
Moral: When Yash Chopra has a Diwali release, the rest of the industry had better keep away.
Chopra vs Chopra
This year, the Chopra's Diwali supremacy is being challenged. By, quaintly enough, another Chopra is posing a serious threat.
Vidhu Vinod's Misson Kashmir seems to stand a good chance against Yash Chopra's Mohabbatein.
At stake are not just the reputations of the Chopras, but also the careers of the heroes of the films.
Shah Rukh Khan vs Hrithik Roshan
Shah Rukh, the monarch for the last decade, is facing the new kid on the block, Hrithik..
Defender Shah Rukh also represents old guard Yash Chopra with Mohabbatein. Challenger Hrithik represents young Turk Vidhu Vinod Chopra with Mission Kashmir.
The Shah Rukh-Hrithik rivalry has been generating enough entertainment even during the interval, when the cola ads come on. So rest assured about some grade-one fireworks at the cinema halls!
Love vs War
The plots of the films also stand in opposite corners of the ring. Mohabbatein is about seeking and winning love. Mission Kashmir is about seeking and killing militants.
Who will win? Will there be a knockout? Will there be a tie?
Given the odds, the answers are as good as a toss of a coin. A gamble. A spirit so true to Diwali.
But then, let's spark it off with a round of discussions, shall we?
Before you start, let us also remind you about our slide shows. A brief collection of classic love stories. And the changing face of terrorism as depicted by Bollywood.
- Sharmila Taliculam