Two big Hindi movies and a Pakistani film are set to open on Thursday, October 2, in India in order to capitalise on the Eid and Gandhi Jayanti (Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary) holidays.

Traditionally, the Muslim festival of Eid and the Hindu festival of Diwali are the two big holidays that distributors in India eye for strategic releases. This year they come three weeks apart with Diwali taking place on Oct 28.

The two Hindi films that will open in cinemas across India and the world tomorrow are Kidnap, a thriller directed by Sanjay Gadhvi and produced by Ashtavinayak Films, and Drona, a SFX-intensive magical fantasy helmed by Goldie Behl and co-produced by Rose Movies and Eros International.

In addition, Percept Picture Company (PPC) is distributing Pakistani production Ramchand Pakistani across India.

Komal Nahata, trade analyst and editor atFilm Information, explained why Eid is a profitable holiday for distributors: 'Devout Muslims abstain entirely from entertainment during the Ramadan month, so they pounce on cinema during Eid and distributors do not want to miss out on these two days which are very bountiful for the box office.

'For instance, Feroz Khan's Janasheen, which released on Eid (2003), was considered a below average film but thanks to its Muslim title and the timing of the release, it succeeded at the box office.'

Of the three releases this week, Nahata believes that Ramchand Pakistani might be attractive to Eid audiences because of the title while the other two should open well as they are commercial, big star films. 'Kidnap should take the number one opening because the actors Imran Khan and Sanjay Dutt are hot and it's a thriller,' said Nahata.

PPC is releasing Mehreen Jabbar's Ramchand Pakistani with 55-60 prints. Rohit Arora, chief operating officer, feature films, PPC said: 'We have planned a limited print, strategic release based on our experience with Pakistani film Khuda Kay Liye and are targeting upscale audiences interested in intelligent cinema.'

Meanwhile Drona, will be released on about 1,000 prints worldwide. 'On the Eid long weekend, Dubai and other Islamic markets become very important for us,' said Jyoti Deshpande, group COO, Eros International. 'Since there were no big releases in the previous weeks, we can do an opening on a Thursday which is of advantage to the exhibitors too.'