Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat has taken the country by storm. Amid widespread protests around cinema halls by various fringe outfits in Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, Padmaavat had released in the theaters on January 25 and it has collected Rs 19 crore on its opening day. Mired in controversy for its alleged “misrepresentations” and “distortion of facts,” the opulent period drama was supposed to hit the theaters on December 1 last year.
It was cleared with a U/A certificate by the CBFC but was later banned by some state governments including Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The Supreme Court later paved the way for its release by staying the state ban. But the vandalism around the theaters and multiplexs has only intensified in the past few days. From a children’s school bus being pelted by Karni Sena hooligans to state bandhs, the furor around Padmaavat has refused to die down.
So, will the period be able to attract audiences to the theaters? Trade analyst Taran Adarsh reports that the opening collection for Padmaavat stands at Rs 19 crore despite the widespread disturbance.
Talking about the paid preview shows on Wednesday, Taran had earlier tweeted the first box office figures, “Despite challenges and extremely limited preview shows [which commenced in evening], #Padmaavat collects ₹ 5 cr in previews screenings on Wed.”
Reportedly, 50-60 percent occupancy had been observed yesterday in cinema halls for Padmaavat shows. Film buffs had even expressed fear over coming to watch the period drama. On one hand, the screening of the film had altogether been refused in some pockets, on the other, some shows of the film were even going housefull in the metro cities.
Speaking about the same, trade analyst Girish Johar had told indianexpress.com earlier, “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 troublesome situation a day or two and then take a decision about watching the film in cinema halls.”
Girish had also pointed out that if the situation had been normal, Padmaavat would have opened to a staggering Rs 20 crore at the box office. But presently, it is hard to decipher the situation. However, a poll conducted by Indian Express yesterday revealed that out of a given audience almost 73 per cent were interested in watching Padmaavat.