By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: It’s advantage Shahrukh Khan, at least for now. Akshay Kumar’s much-vaunted Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaara (OUATIMD) has under-performed at the box office, leaving trade experts shell-shocked, and the Chennai Express (CE) producers laughing all the way to the bank.
And the next bank holiday.
Shahrukh, we hear, plans a big celebration bash .We don’t know yet if the OUATIMD producer Ekta Kapoor would be invited. But if reports that she refused to let Shah Rukh screen her film at his residence Mannat are true, then I doubt she would be in a mood to celebrate.Invite or no.
The box-office figures for Chennai Express are indeed staggering even in the second week. On its second Friday it collected 6.50 crore rupees, Saturday’s collections were 8.51 crores, Sunday was 10.22 crores. The total over the second weekend was 25.23 crore rupees.This, when added to the 1st week’s collections of Rs 156.70 cores totalled Rs 181.93 crores collection for the first ten days.
In a day or two Chennai Express will touch Rs.200 crores.
Understandably there is much self-congratulation in the UTV camp.
Says Gaurav Verma, Director India Theatrical Distribution Studios, Disney UTV “Two powerhouses of Bollywood Shah Rukh Khan and Rohit Shetty came together for the first time. That was enough reason to create a huge excitement. Plus the magic of Deepika Padukone re-teaming with Shah Rukh after six years,backed by the aggressive marketing which created a huge buzz, all this did the trick.”
Gaurav also feels the release timing was perfect. “With Eid on Friday followed by Independence Day during the same week, the film got an opportunity to go really wide in Week 1. Our gambit paid off.Audiences came to cinemas in huge numbers and made Chennai Express an unprecedented office success. It continues to break many records every day.”
Gaurav gloats over the second week’s collections. “It is expected to dominate the box office the next week as well.So we’ll continue to retain maximum screens in the weeks to come.”
Trade analyst Taran Adarsh endorses the film’s whopping success. “The box office business is phenomenal. SRK plus Deepika plus Rohit Shetty plus Eid plus masala have proved yet again that entertainment rules. The masses love Chennai Express.”
Critics can go fly a kite.