Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus Padmaavat (earlier called Padmavati) will finally see the light of the day tomorrow i.e. on January 25. The furor around the film has been monstrous ever since its announcement but it reached its peak when Padmaavat’s release date was deferred to an indefinite period from December 1.
And even after the CBFC clearing the period drama with no more than five modifications, protests around its release have refused to die down. The Supreme Court even lifted the ban earlier imposed by various state governments but protests are only intensifying even one day before Padmaavat’s release.
While security has been beefed up in several states by the government, including Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, it is still difficult for a viewer to decide whether one should risk watching the film in a theater.
Film business and trade analyst Girish Johar has a similar story to tell. He remarked that the film would definitely have made a staggering opening collection of Rs 20 crore had it released in normal conditions which means including its performance in the tumultuous states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and others. But considering the situation now, he finds it hard to arrive at a box office figure.
He further described the condition of the film’s release as very peculiar. He said, “After the Supreme Court has stayed the ban placed by various states, there are two things happening. First, the government is trying to ensure effective law and order so that the film gets a fair viewing but on the other hand, there are also rumours that the government is advising theater owners to avoid the release of the film to maintain peace in the respective cities.”
Talking about the cinema-goers, Johar quipped, “At the end of the day, viewers are only looking to be entertained and they would avoid getting into a ruckus, as much as possible. Therefore, the advance bookings of Padmaavat have also been affected in that regard. While in some cities, the bookings are as strong as ever, there are also some pockets where people have showed little or no interest in the advance booking of the tickets. Mostly, people have found it wise to take a back seat currently and give the aggrandised situation a day or two and then take a decision about watching the film in cinema halls.”
Another factor worth considering in this regard is the early reviews for Bhansali’s film. Almost everybody that has watched the film is of the opinion that the film is living up to the Rajput “aan, baan and shaan” without disparaging the image of the community or its valourous Queen but will it be enough to move fans out of their homes to watch the film?
Girish also talked about how releasing Padmaavat on a Thursday i.e. January 25 could turn into a beneficial move for the makers as the controversies around the film may die down by the time the weekend approaches.
Padmaavat stars Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor. While Ranveer and Deepika have previously worked with Bhansali in Bajirao Mastani (domestic collection: Rs 184 crore) and Goliyon Ki Rasleela: Ram-Leela (Rs 116 crore) previously, this is the first time Shahid has worked with Bhansali.