by Subhash K Jha
It's a different kind of battle, and a separate set of Khans. The Khan brothers Feroz and Akbar Khan are pitched against each other in the two films being released this week.
While Akbar Khan directs this week's period film Taj Mahal, elder brother Feroz Khan stars in the week's utterly disparate hip-and-young crime caper Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena.
"That's why they aren't in competition," says the young Ek Khiladi... director Suparn Varma whose film also stars Feroz's son Fardeen.
"Feroz Saab is like the head of the family. There's absolutely no sense of competition. In fact everyone in the Khan – daan looks up to Feroz Saab."
Interestingly the last time father Feroz and son Fardeen Khan came together in Janasheen, they were again pitched against a Khan, and that was Shah Rukh in Kal Ho Na Ho.
This time the competition is to close to their home. On this occasion when the Khans are pitched against one another the trade seems far more gung-ho about Suparn Verma's Ek Khiladi Ek Hasina.
Taj Mahal possesses the old-world look. Period films whether it's Chandraprakash Diwedi's cannily crafted P injar or Raj Kumar Santoshi's astutely visualized The Legend Of Bhagat Singh, seldom do well.
The star cast in Taj Mahal also looks fairly unpromising. Zulfi Zayed who plays Shah Jahan has been around struggling for three years. Sonia Jehan who plays his immortal lady- love is yet another Pakistani import.
We all know what happened to the last Paki-import Meera in Nazar and Kasak.
Pooja Batra married and retired two years ago. The rest of the cast in the 4-year old Taj Mahal is also pretty unexciting.
Though director Akbar Khan has been pumping money into marketing his white elephant and though Subhash Ghai's Mukta Arts is distributing this expensive and delayed film in various parts of the country, it's doubtful whether the film would even get a decent opening.
Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena on the other hand, has enough erotica oomph and star power , including the new luscious jive-time Lolita, Koena Mitra, to keep audiences gurgling in pleasure.
In this battle of the Khans the period-classic just might have to concede defeat.