Bihar: It's advantage Dilwale over Bajirao Mastani on Day One in the city as the Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol-starrer is leading with a better opening at the box office over the Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone-starrer.
Rohit Shetty's Dilwale is slotted for 22 shows every day in Patna whereas Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Bajirao Mastani is slotted for just 12 shows, giving a clear edge in terms of first day collection which was around Rs 20.36 lakh and Rs 10.45 lakh respectively.
This was a trend noticed across the country. According to FE Online, Dilwale has grabbed an early lead with occupancy rates of 70% while Bajirao had managed 30%. The website also quoted Girish Wankhede of production-distribution company Entity One who placed Dilwale's opening day collection to be somewhere around Rs 21-22 crore while " Bajirao might settle for a Rs 10-12 crore opening day figure".
Movie-goers are definitely thronging theatres to catch their favourite-pair (Shah Rukh and Kajol) after a gap of five years. Shah Rukh and Kajol were seen together in My Name Is Khan in 2010. Most shows of Dilwale ran houseful and advance bookings were also filling fast for the weekend. On the other hand, Bajirao Mastani's footfall was less.
Critics have panned the movie but the crowd just don't seem to have enough of Dilwale's winning pair that created history with their film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, which ran for 20 long years at Mumbai's Maratha Mandir. "I really enjoyed the film and everyone knows Shah Rukh-Kajol's chemistry. For me they are a golden pair. I have been waiting for this film for a long time. Finally I watched it," said Sunita Kumari of Arvind Mahila College.
Audiences also appreciated the performance of Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon in the film.
Talking about the success of the film, Suman Kumar Sinha, chairman cum managing director of Regent Theatre Pvt said: "People across classes are enjoying the movie, despite the clash with the other big movie."
On other hand, the theatre management sounded low when asked about the status of the Bajirao Mastani. "It is true that footfall for the Ranveer-Deepika movie is less comparing to Dilwale. In the beginning we thought that both movies will do good business. But, it looks like the people of Bihar are not able to connect with this movie, as it deals with Maharashtra," said Manoj Pramanik, unit head of Cinepolis, Patna.
Ironically, the movie ran in trouble in Maharashtra too. A descendant of Bajirao Peshwa I alleged that historical facts had been "altered" while portraying the late king and his wives Kashibai and Mastani in the film. The movie, a historical romance produced and directed by Bhansali, narrates the story of the Maratha warrior Peshwa Bajirao I of the Maratha Empire and his second wife Mastani. While Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone play the eponymous roles, Priyanka Chopra will be seen in the role of Bajirao's first wife Kashibai.
Despite the controversy surrounding the plot, the last Ranveer-Deepika movie, Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela had not done phenomenal business either. Released on November 15, 2013, it was slotted for 13 shows and had collected just Rs 3.32 lakh on its first day.
Asked the reason why Dilwale was doing commercially well, the president of Cine Society Patna, Jai Mangal Deo, said: "The Shah Rukh-Kajol chemistry is globally accepted. Sanjay Leela Bhansali is known for making films having a large canvas and costumes but Rohit
Crowd outside Regent Fun Cinemas that is screening both Dilwale and Bajirao Mastani. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey
Shetty has an edge, as people now want to see something fast, which his movies provide. The other reason is, of course, the long hiatus since the last movie from this pair. Many, specially the middle-aged ones, are very nostalgic about the pair."
Amid this, handful of activists of Bajrang Dal activists tried to disrupt screening of Dilwale in Patna's Mona theatre and another theatre in Chhapra over the actor's recent statement on intolerance.
However, the administration deputed force and police controlled the situation well and screening continued in all the theatres.
On his birthday on November 2, Shah Rukh was quoted as saying: "There is intolerance, there is extreme intolerance... there is, I think... there is growing intolerance."
Responding to a question on intolerance at a programme organised by ABP News, owned by ABP, the publishers of The Telegraph, the actor said he was "really sorry if anybody has felt bad" and he is "not saying this because I want people to watch my film". The programme will be aired on ABP News on Saturday.
--The Telegraph, Calcutta