Bollywood gears up for peak box office season

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India's Hindi-language film industry is bracing itself for the busiest time of year, when it rolls out its big guns to coincide with the major religious festivals of Diwali and Eid.

Action thriller Dabangg, starring Salman Khan, gets the peak season rolling with a wide release in India and overseas on September 10.

Khan plays a fearless but corrupt cop in the film, which was produced by and also stars his brother Arbaaz Khan. It was directed by Abhinav Kashyap who is the brother of internationally-acclaimed new wave director Anurag Kashyap (Dev D).

Following that will be Anjaana Anjaani, a romantic comedy starring Priyanka Chopra and Bollywood's hottest newcomer Ranbir Kapoor, which Eros International will release on September 24.

October 22 sees the release of the first part of Ram Gopal Varma's two-part political thriller Rakta Charitra, starring Vivek Oberoi, which depicts the life of the slain political leader Paritala Ravindra. The second part will be released four to five weeks later.

At least two big films are set for release in November - romantic drama Guzarish, starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai, and Golmaal 3, the third installment in Rohit Shetty's successful comedy franchise, starring Ajay Devgan and Kareena Kapoor.

Produced by UTV Motion Pictures, Guzarish is directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali who also directed the international hit Devdas.

Most of these films will receive a wide global release day-and-date with their Indian release, a strategy which has become Bollywood's most effective weapon in the fight against piracy.

Hindi films are usually released in countries with large Indian communities, including the US, Canada, the UK, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand.

The Muslim festival of Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan, takes place on September 10, while Diwali, one of Hinduism's biggest festivals, will be celebrated on November 5 this year.

In recent years, the peak box office season has also rolled on into the Christian festival of Christmas - big releases set for December include Ashutosh Gowariker's Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, starring Abhishek Bachchan and Deepika Padukone, and Farah Khan's action comedy Tees Maar Khan, with Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif.

Upcoming Hindi film releases:

September 10 - Dabangg, starring Salman Khan (Eros/Arbaaz Khan Productions)

September 24 - Anjaana Anjaani, starring Ranbir Kapoor & Priyanka Chopra (Eros)

October 15 - Jhootha Hi Sahi, starring John Abraham (Madhu Mantena/Saregama)

October 15 - Knock Out, starring Sanjay Dutt & Irrfan Khan (Aap Entertainment)

October 22 - Rakta Charitra, starring Vivek Oberoi (Cinergy Pictures)

November 19 - Guzarish, starring Hrithik Roshan & Aishwarya Rai (UTV Motion Pictures)

November TBC - Golmaal 3, starring Ajay Devgan & Kareena Kapoor (Eros)

December 3 - Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, starring Abhishek Bachchan & Deepika Padukone (PVR Pictures)

December 24 - Tees Maar Khan, starring Akshay Kumar & Katrina Kaif (UTV Motion Pictures)