Mumbai: After a tepid showing at the box office on Eid last year, Salman Khan can look for some redemption this year as his latest film Bharat exceeded all trade expectations with a Rs 42.3-crore opening day.
The film, which released mid-week, stars Khan in the titular role, alongside Sunil Grover, and Katrina Kaif, the female lead.
Incidentally, Khan’s last blockbuster came in 2017, when he starred alongside Kaif in Tiger Zinda Hai which was directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, who has also helmed Bharat.
This is the third outing for the actor-director duo, the first being 2016 hit film Sultan. All the three films released around festivals — Sultan and Bharat on Eid, and Tiger Zinda Hai on Christmas — in their respective years of release.
Made at a cost of Rs 100 crore, Bharat is based on South Korean film Ode To My Father. If the original is about the Second World War seen through the eyes of a commoner, Bharat tells the history of the country through the eyes of another, in this case, the titular character.
The film opened to mixed to positive reviews, with critics praising the director, and the female lead, and Khan to some extent. It was released on 4,700 screens, which is the norm for a big Bollywood festival release.
While Bharat had the advantage of releasing on a holiday, it faced tough competition from the much-awaited India-South Africa World Cup tie that took place on the same day. Trade experts say the film has managed to do well despite the match and has been appreciated in both metros and non-metros.
Trade analyst Taran Adarsh tweeted, “Bharat storms the BO (box office) and proves yet again Salman Khan is the biggest crowd puller. Bharat opens much bigger than Salman-Ali Abbas Zafar’s Tiger Zinda Hai (Rs 34.1 crore), and Sultan (Rs 36.54 crore).”
With this, Khan seems to be back to his winning ways at the box office. Barring Race 3, and Tubelight, Khan’s track record on Eid has been exceptional over the past decade or so, giving hits like Dabangg (2010), Ek Tha Tiger (2012), Kick (2014), and Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015).
With the first-day collection of Rs 42.3 crore, Bharat is not only the biggest Bollywood opener of the year but also the biggest opener for Salman Khan ever.
The biggest opener among all films this year, however, remains Avengers: Endgame with the opening day collection of Rs 53.1 crore. Khan’s previous best was his 2015 Diwali release Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (Rs 40.3 crore).
Having made a good start, the film will hope to make the most of its five day opening weekend, with Saturday and Sunday expected to add a significant amount to its kitty.