In spite of the controversy surrounding Kamal Hasaan’s latest offering, Vishwaroopam was screened peacefully in Kolkata and the districts on the first day of its release. The government remained alert in the face of the demand for banning the film in Bengal by minority community leaders.
Theatres received only a “satisfactory” response, but owners are hopeful that the footfall will pick up over the weekend.
“The film has got a satisfactory response and, till now, we’ve had no trouble screening it in Kolkata and the districts,” a source at the distributor’s office said.
Home department officials said police were still on alert.
The controversy around actor-filmmaker Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam, released in Hindi as Vishwaroop, may be a blessing in disguise for the film’s fate in the northern states. Distributors and theatre owners expect the film, which released in 1,000 cinema halls across India on Friday, to do well over the weekend, buoyed by the buzz around it so far.
While movies from down south rarely do good business in north India, Haasan’s flick, which has run into trouble over its alleged portrayal of the Muslim community, may be an exception. “We expect the occupancy to go up to 70% over the weekend. People are interested in the film,” a PVR spokesperson said. “The negative publicity has increased footfall. It is at par with Race 2 in terms of business and audience interest, which is uncommon,” Yogesh Raizada, head, Wave Cinemas, said.
“South Indian films witness 5-10% occupancy in the north, but first day figures for Vishwaroop are 20-25%,” said distributor Joginder Mahajan. But in Tamil Nadu, the epicentre of the row, the ban on the film continued as formal talks between Haasan and protesting Muslim groups in the state failed to take off.