Until three years ago, Rajnikanth’s films were runaway hits only down South. But the turning point came with Sivaji – The Boss. Its Tamil version was a hit in Mumbai. And its Hindi dubbed version did even better.
Kuselan (2008) though was a debacle. But Endhiran/ Robot, the Rs 150 crore sci-fi fantasy adventure that opened last Friday, is looking to break all barriers, across language and box-office collections. And trade experts insist that despite a slow start, it is now streaking past the Ranbir Kapoor-Priyanka Chopra romcom, Anjaana Anjaani, even in the Hindi belt.
Ashish Saxena, CEO, Big Cinemas, says that Anjaana Anjaani recorded a bigger opening. “But Robot picked up late Friday and has maintained a strong upward graph through Saturday and Sunday. Needless to add, the Tamil Enthiran is having a dream run,” he informs.
Sunil Punjabi, CEO, Cinemax India Ltd, is equally amazed by Robot’s huge jump. “A 100 per cent opening in Hyderabad and Kochi was expected response, but for Robot to skip from 40-50 per cent to 85 per cent in Versova and Sion theatres over the weekend is phenomenal,” he exults, adding that word-of-mouth publicity seems to be working in a big way for this Rajnikanthh-Aishwarya Rai Bachchan movie, as opposed to “mixed response” to Anjaana Anjaani.
While Anjaana Anjaani has netted about Rs 25 crore across India over three days, the Rajni movie has earned around Rs 37 crore, of which Rs 12 odd crore comes from the Hindi Robot alone.
Vishek Chauhan, owner of Roopbani theatre in Purnia, Bihar, insists that both the classes and the masses seem to love the Boss. “And the climax is mind-blowing,” he raves. “We’ve never something like this in a Hindi movie before.”
Admitting that it usually takes the North some time to warm up to South Indian films, in this case, Chauhan admits the response has been almost instant. “The Hindi Robot will net at least Rs 25 to 30 crore. Anjaana Anjaani won’t sustain because it’s just style masquerading as content. But because satellite rights have fetched Rs 22 crore, and the opening has been good, even the latter will enjoy an above-average run,” reasons Chauhan.
Shaaminder Malik, a trade veteran up North, agrees that Anjaana Anjaani suffers from lack of content, which is why people are walking out mid-way. “Endhiran is doing fantastic business but the Hindi dubbing is not too good which is why people have trouble understanding it. Also, it would help if the Hindi version was trimmed by 15 minutes,” Malik asserts.
Emraan Hashmi’s Crook, Chauhaan believes, will hit the business of Anjaana Anjaani, but not Robot. “If I weren’t a regular distributor for Anjaana Anjaani, I’d have pulled down the film before the week ends and played more shows for Robot,” he admits, adding that the Rajni’s entertainer remains strong even on Monday.