Move over Shah Rukh Khan; there’s a new king in tinsel town. He’s 61, a god in South India, and now, superstar Rajinikanth has taken over Bollywood fans, too. His latest film, Enthiran-The Robot, has broken all opening weekend sales recorded by any Bollywood film, ever. With box office collection worth a whopping R56 crore on its first weekend, the film has overshot the record set by Salman Khan’s Dabangg, by 17 per cent.
Even in North India, where it’s mostly Bollywood films that have done well, the movie is a top grosser, beating Anjaani Anjaani, which released on the same day. "We didn’t expect such a great response in the North sector. We’re planning to increase the number of shows in Delhi this weekend — that’s how phenomenal the response has been," says Shirish Handa of Fun Cinemas.
"Rajinikanth is now the baadshah of the box office, and the numbers prove it," says trade analyst Taran Adarsh. "Robot has put him on an unmatchable level. His demand is growing both in North India and internationally."
It’s not just multiplexes that are raking in the moolah. Vishek Chauhan, owner of Roopbani theatre in Purnia, Bihar, insists that both the classes and the masses seem to love the actor in his latest avatar. "We’ve never witnessed something like this earlier. The shows remain full even on Mondays."
Till three years ago, Rajinikanth’s films would only take South India by storm. The turning point was Sivaji – The Boss (2007). Even the Tamil version was a hit in Mumbai. Now, Robot is repeating the success story like never before. "It’s not Batman or Superman, no blonde-haired, white-skinned super hero saving the world… he is our very own Chitti — one we can all relate to," says film critic Anupama Chopra.
Enthiran Domestic opening R56 crore, Worldwide opening R160 crore
Dabangg Domestic opening R48 crore, Worldwide opening R90 crore
3 idiots Domestic opening R38 crore, Worldwide opening R90 crore
My Name is Khan Domestic opening R30 crore, Worldwide opening R85 crore
Inputs from Hiren Kotwani