Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ has brought a ray of hope for the film industry battered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Alia Bhatt-starrer fetched a terrific initial in Maharashtra, especially in Mumbai city and Pune, due to regional flavour.
The opening of the film is good in Delhi city and Rajasthan as well. Due to regional flavour, the initial is comme si comme sa in circuits such as CI (Central India) and UP. Due to the release of Telugu film ‘Bheemla Nayak’, which has opened to stupendous response, ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ is below par in Andhra/Nizam. But since the word-of-mouth is positive, the movie will recapture the lost ground over the next few days.
The music of the film didn’t take off, a rarity for a Bhansali movie, else the opening outside Maharashtra would be even better. The fear of the pandemic still hasn’t completely tapered off and people are especially reluctant to go to cinemas.
Overall, taking all factors into consideration, the opening is good. The movie has garnered around Rs 10 crore nett on Day 1 which is more than what the industry was expecting as it is a female-oriented subject. This clearly underlines the fact that at present, Alia Bhatt is the most saleable female actor at the Box Office. Due to the positive word-of-mouth, the movie is expected to grow over the weekend across India.
The business of the film is driven by big cities where the business tends to show an upswing during the weekends. ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ will record its best business in Maharashtra where the cinema halls are still operating at 50% occupancy. Since the cinema halls opened last year, only Akshay Kumar’s ‘Sooryavanshi’ has emerged as a clean hit. But even in the case of ‘Sooryavanshi’, the collections were propelled by superb business in Maharashtra and Gujarat. In the rest of the country, it was just about decent.
It is abundantly clear that since the cinemas have opened after the second wave, Maharashtra and Gujarat business is the closest to pre-pandemic levels. The other circuits and states aren’t yet operating at their optimal levels. Even films like ‘Antim – The Final Truth’ and ‘Tadap’ hoovered up good numbers in Maharashtra but came a cropper in other circuits.
If the collections of ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ show uptick during the weekend and then sustain well over the week, it is likely to emerge as the second ‘hit’, after ‘Sooryavanshi’, in the post-pandemic period. Kabir Khan and Ranveer Singh’s ’83’ did a business of Rs 105 crore nett in India but distributors and producers copped losses due to exorbitant budget. The business of Rs 105 crore nett wasn’t up to the mark for a film of that magnitude.
In India, ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ is released on around 3500 screens, which is the same as ‘Sooryavanshi’.