Is Salman the Rajinikanth of Bollywood?

Mumbai:  In Pics:Top 10 Bollywood openings, Bodyguard heads list
The New York Times reviews Bodyguard

At the end of five days since Bodyguard opened in theatres on Wednesday, tradesmiths are unanimous about their verdict for the Salman starrer: Mind-blowing and earth-shattering.

Other films that released on the same weekend That Girl In Yellow Boots, Bol and Mummy Punjabi have been shrugged off and probably crushed by the Bodyguard hurricane.

“On the business front, it is bigger than Singham, the producer Reliance Entertainment’s earlier release. But on the profit front, it will be more or less same,” said trade analyst Amod Mehra, adding that Bodyguard will easily cross Rs 100 crore net in India in the next couple of days.

The Salman Khan-Kareena Kapoor action romance flick is said to have cost the producers about Rs 75 crore, including prints and advertising. But that’s not a cause for concern, asserts an industry insider. “The satellite rights have been sold for Rs 30 crore and the music has gone for Rs 6 crore,” he revealed.

Pegging the five-day collections across India at Rs 86.10 crore, Komal Nahta, editor Film Information, a trade weekly, enthuses that the movie has broken records for first day, first weekend and first week.

The reviews notwithstanding, he says, “If the film was not good, you wouldn’t expect such collections. Films have released on Eid down the years, but the festival combined with Salman and his action is the major reason for this kind of overwhelming response.”

Calling Salman the Rajinikanth of Bollywood, Nahta concedes that collections drop on Mondays. But he also quickly countered, “Why grudge that? The film has done in five days what others do in two weeks.”

In the same vein, Indore-based distributor Aditya Choksey of Akshar Enterprises maintains that the film is holding strong even on Monday.

“The morning shows of PVR and Inox were sold out. Although there might be a few people who didn’t like Bodyguard, the audience is loving it. Otherwise, there’s no way you can explain these numbers,” he said.

Delhi based distributor Sanjay Ghai, COO Mukta Arts Ltd is certain the film will cross Ready‘s Rs 120 crore in nine days mark.

“A couple of days after Eid, the collections usually start to drop. But on the sixth day too, Bodyguard continues to sustain well. In the second week, it might cross Dabangg‘s Rs 141 crore,” he said, adding that if this continues, it remains to be seen if the Salman starrer will touch Aamir Khan’s record-holding 3 Idiots.

Nahta concedes it’s too early to predict how much Bodyguard will earn, but it is certain it will cross Ready. “It could make Rs 150 crore or more. We can get a better idea only after the second weekend,” he says.

However, Aditya Choksey is optimistic it will cross Dabangg‘s earnings, too. “And with a little help from the ladies and family audiences, Bodyguard could even surpass 3 Idiots‘ earnings in India,” he said, much to our surprise.

He added, “Even if it doesn’t, it’s no mean feat to overtake the second biggest grosser like Dabangg. Salman is batting like Sanath Jayasuria, by scoring the fastest 100 yet.”

As for the other releases, Nahta said that Bol is carrying slowly on the strength of rave reviews, while That Girl In Yellow Boots and Mummy Punjabi have been crushed by the Bodyguard tsunami. “Though the cost of That Girl In Yellow Boots is limited, Eid and Salman’s Bodyguard wasn’t the right time to release it,” he notes.

Echoing the same observation, Choksey too said that the other films didn’t draw in the audience.

Sanjay Ghai feels that the producers of That Girl In Yellow Boots and Bol made a big mistake of releasing the films with Bodyguard.

“At another time, they could have done respectable business. But this time, no other movie stood any chance. And it’s the first time that a film has done so well across cities, small towns, villages, multiplexes and single screens,” he concluded.

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