The curiosity built around Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Rs 190-crore Padmaavat has started translating to box-office collections, thanks to widespread Karni Sena protests and CBFC embargos; the movie, embroiled in controversies, has seen the highest opening ever for any Bhansali film so far. Despite no-release to limited release in states like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Padmaavat’s first-day box office collections were somewhere between Rs 15 crore and Rs 20 crore, higher than Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani (2015), starring both Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, which had opened at Rs 12.8 crore.
Already 1-million mark?
According to reports, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, the maker of the film, released a statement on January 25, the day the movie was released, saying that 1 million people watched the movie on day one. "We are humbled with the response we have received for Padmaavat. Over 1 million Indians have already watched the film and occupancy levels for shows are very strong across more than 4,000 screens with most running house-full,” a spokesperson said. The makers had also arranged paid previews across the country, a day before it was released.
Despite challenges and extremely limited preview shows [which commenced in evening], #Padmaavat collects ₹ 5 cr in previews screenings on Wed.— taran adarsh (@taran_adarsh) January 25, 2018
And this should put the Rajput Karni Sena in an embarrassing position: First day comparative figures - Padmavat 355K, Bahubali 2 was 212K, Dangal was 247K. And guys, K stands for thousand, not for Karni!!— Komal Nahta (@KomalNahta) January 25, 2018
The rally of allegations - that the movie would hurt Rajput pride and misrepresent history - created a buzz around the film throughout 2017 (and continued till 2018 so far), starting from attacking the director during the film's shooting to announcing a bounty on Deepika's nose. The tug-of-war over the movie was intensified as its release was being put on the back burner for quite some time. While the CBFC asked for a name change, several states banned the release of the movie. All this led to a situation where people, including those who are not fans of Bhansali's extravagance, just wanted to watch the movie. It was more of curiosity than the content which drove people to the theatres, who were left disappointed finding nothing controversial in the movie.
Watched Padmaavat. Spectacular movie. No complex story. Very simple. Rajput are heroes. Rani Padmavati is like a goddess.And Khilji is nothing but a filthy monster. Who will be most happy to watch the film? Karni Sena.— taslima nasreen (@taslimanasreen) January 25, 2018
Padmaavat, which also got to see the light of the day in Pakistan, made record business in Australia on day one.
Central Board of Film Censors #CBFC has declared a feature film containing Indian cast & crew #Padmaavat without any excision suitable for public exhibition in the cinemas with a ‘U’ certification. #CBFC #Unbiasedforartscreativity&healthy entertainment— Mobashir Hasan (@BABUCRATE) January 24, 2018
#Padmaavat takes a FANTABULOUS START in key international markets on Thu...AUSTRALIA: A$ 367,984 [₹ 1.88 cr]NEW ZEALAND: NZ$ 64,265 [₹ 29.99 lakhs]UK [preview screenings]: £ 97,604 [₹ 88.08 lakhs]@Rentrak— taran adarsh (@taran_adarsh) January 26, 2018
Padmaavat in Australia: Thursday A$ 355k. The figure is a record for Bollywood films for first day. Oh, is the Rajput Karni Sena now heading to Australia? New Zealand $61k— Komal Nahta (@KomalNahta) January 25, 2018
Long weekend means business for Bollywood
With protests against the movie still continuing, it is apprehended that the movie may not do good business in the coming days, once the initial excitement fizzles out. While this is a possibility next week, the movie is sure to make brisk business this long weekend as Republic Day releases always mean good money for Bollywood. In 2017, SRK's Raees reaped the benefit of a Republic Day release.
No other big releases
As PadMan, which was supposed to open on January 25, decided to postpone its release to avoid a clash with Padmaavat, there are no big releases to distract Padmavaat's audience.