Last week’s release ‘Jhund’ has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster despite glowing reviews and critical acclaim. No Amitabh Bachchan movie in the recent past has taken such a tepid opening.
The film collected approx Rs 1 crore on Friday and though it saw some growth over the weekend, that was not sufficient. The business of the film after the weekend stood at Rs 4.5 crore. It will take a miracle for the film to be successful.
Alia Bhatt’s ‘Gangubai Kathaiwadi’ held very well in its second weekend to clock up Rs 22 crore nett in India. In 10 days, it has garnered Rs 90 crore nett in India and is set to be a hit. The best business for the film has come from Maharashtra followed by Andhra/Nizam region.
Maharashtra and Gujarat have always been bastions for Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the director of ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’, as his movies have strong regional influence. ‘Gangubai’ also has a strong Maharashtra flavour hence the region is driving its business.
The business in Delhi city is also very good. However, Uttar Pradesh numbers are comme si comme sa. Surprisingly, the movie has fared well in Bihar where movies toplined by female actors don’t hold much interest.
The movie is reportedly made at an exorbitant budget of Rs 150 crore, hence despite doing very good business, the profits from all the sources – India and overseas theatrical, satellite, digital and music rights – will be moderate. But it’s a victory for the film toplined by a female actor to recover such a huge cost and generate profits.
More importantly, its business has generated tremendous excitement among exhibitors who were reeling under the onslaught of the COVID-19.
Vishek Chauhan, an exhibitor from Bihar, told The New Indian that the business of ‘Gangubai’ in Bihar has pleasantly surprised him. “I was not expecting this movie to do well in Bihar. But even in my cinemas the movie has done good business. Bhansali films historically have come a cropper in Bihar. Even SRK’s ‘Dilwale’, which was an underperformer, steamrolled Bhansali’s ‘Bajirao Mastani’ in Bihar 2015,” he said.
He is gung-ho about the prospects of upcoming movies such as Akshay Kumar’s ‘Bachchan Pandey’ and John Abraham’s ‘Attack’. “I am certain that ‘Bachchan Pandey’ will take an excellent start all over India. Now the cinemas are operating at 100% levels at most of the places and we are extremely jubilant. If it’s accepted by the masses, it will leapfrog the business of Akshay’s last hit ‘Sooryavanshi’. John’s action films have always done well in Bihar and ‘Attack’ will hoover up a good initial,” he opined.
“The next three months are likely to be a bonanza for exhibitors. We are excited. Trade is not expecting much from the Hindi dubbed version of ‘Radhe Shyam’ but it will surprise many by its opening in Hindi-speaking regions. Then in April, Shahid Kapoor’s ‘Jersey’ will also light up the box-office. People are waiting to experience mainstream movies on the big-screen again and if the content clicks, they all will do terrific business,” he adds.
Chauhan is also sure that SRK will make a huge comeback with ‘Pathaan’, whose announcement video was recently released. “I am telling you now that ‘Pathaan’ will take an earth-shattering opening. SRK’s movies tanked last decade because they were bad films. His stardom has always remained undiminished. There were talks a decade ago that Salman and Akshay were finished. But they both have seen the best phases of their careers in the last 10 years,” he stated.
“People don’t punish stars like they punish politicians. They reject a bad film, but don’t banish a star,” he concluded.