An Amitabh Bachchan film usually draws audiences and gets a good opening at the box-office here irrespective of its quality. But his latest - The Last Lear - met with initial disappointment as it opened with a dismal 20 per cent collection.
The film by director Rituparno Ghosh is in English, limiting its audience. The other factor for its poor show on the opening day could be that it was Onam Friday and people in Mumbai are busy with the ongoing Ganesh festival. The 11-day fest is celebrated with much gaiety and fervour across Maharashtra.
In comparison to The Last Lear, Vikram Bhatt's horror movie 1920, which does not boast of a big star cast, raked in better revenues. Its opening day collection stood at 38 pe rcent.
The collections of the Big B starrer may dip further Sunday when Mumbai will be in a state of frenzy as thousands throng the streets and participate in processions to immerse Ganesh idols in the sea.
However, Planman Motion Pictures, which has produced the The Last Lear, is hopeful that the collections may improve from Monday.
"This is what is my expectation," Planman Motion Pictures CEO S.S. Bhattacharya told IANS.
But Bollywood trade circles are not too enthusiastic about The Last Lear, which also stars Preity Zinta and Arjun Rampal.
"It is a niche film meant for the elite. In spite of that, considering its modest budget, it is not going to be a losing proposition," said a Bollywood trade analyst.
The Last Lear is based on Utpal Dutt's Bengali play Aajker Shahjahan. It is shot in theatrical style and Amitabh is seen as a whimsical Shakespearean actor who is drawn into the world of movies.
The film had run into trouble in Mumbai after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray took umbrage at Amitabh's wife, actress-turned-politician Jaya Bachchan's alleged "anti-Marathi" remarks. He called for a ban on the screening of all films starring any member of the Bachchan family.
The premiere of The Last Lear in Mumbai was cancelled after MNS activists attacked the cinema hall where it was to be screened. However, the MNS called off its agitation on Thursday after the Bachchans tendered an apology.