MUMBAI (Reuters) - Bollywood is pinning its hopes on three new films that opened in cinemas on Friday to rev up a lacklustre box-office ahead of the festive Diwali season.
The industry, the world's largest by ticket sales, is waiting eagerly to see if "Blue", "All the Best" and "Main Aur Mrs Khanna" can reduce losses in a year most big productions have bitten the dust and only a few ventures have tasted success.
"All three are big films, with big-ticket stars and the kind of films that will go well with audiences," says Vajir Singh, an editor at 'Box Office India', a trade magazine.
Weeks of publicity have built up huge anticipation for the three films opening a day before Diwali, Bollywood's most important moviegoing season coinciding with the Hindu festival of lights.
"People are in a festive mood, they want to go out and have a good time and be entertained, so Diwali is a great time to release your film," said actor Ajay Devgn, whose home production "All the Best" hit cinemas on Friday.
Filmmakers are hoping the festive season, when most big-ticket films are released, would help turn around Bollywood's fortunes in one of its worst years in recent times.
Earlier this year, the Mumbai film industry was also hit by an impasse between producers and multiplexes that stalled new releases for six weeks.
"The strike has meant that there has been a huge pile-up of films in the latter half of the year," Singh said.
"This has been a bad year for Bollywood, no doubt about it. Hopefully, we should have some good news."