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After initial hype, collections stagnate

Jodhaa Akbar saw a fair opening and grossed Rs 385 million worldwide in the opening weekend, but the film's box-office collections seem to have stagnated now.
By Jivraj Burman | IANS, Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2008 07:07 PM IST

Ashutosh Gowariker's epic love story

Jodhaa Akbar

saw a fair opening and grossed Rs 385 million worldwide in the opening weekend, but the film's box-office collections seem to have stagnated now.

While Welcome grossed Rs 390 million in India in the first five days, Jodhaa Akbar could manage only around Rs 250 million.

Welcome was released with 900 prints in India, while Gowariker's Jodhaa Akbar was released in 26 countries and 1,100 screens worldwide.

Although it was expected that the box-office performance of the Hrithik Roshan-Aishwarya Rai starrer might improve as days progressed, that hasn't happened yet.

In certain centres, in fact, collections have even dropped for various reasons.

Aamir Khan's Taare Zameen Par, for instance, released with 385 prints and grossed only Rs 110 million in the first three days. But collections shot up in the following weeks through word of mouth.

Though that has not happened with their film, producers UTV and Ashutosh Gowariker Productions say that they are happy with the audience turnout.

"The collections that Jodhaa Akbar registered at the box office all over are up to our expectations," said Siddharth Roy Kapoor, marketing and distribution head of UTV Motion Pictures.

A common complaint against Jodhaa Akbar, which concentrates on the formative years of Mughal emperor Jalaluddin Akbar and his marriage of alliance with Rajput princess Jodha Bai, is its three hours and 20 minutes running time.

Following the adverse comments from trade circles, UTV was amenable for a few cuts but Gowariker would hear none of it. The director made it clear that, despite what others say, he would not edit it further as that would harm the narrative flow.

"Every movie has its own pace. If a section of the audience have found the pace of Jodhaa Akbar a little too meandering, I would ask them to see it once again to understand its nuances before they air their views," a piqued Gowariker told IANS.

But, whether he likes it or not, some exhibitors in parts of northern India are reported to have themselves randomly deleted some scenes of the movie to restrict length.

Though their action is illegal, exhibitors are known to do so when they hear complaints against a movie's running time from the audience.

In fact, it is for reasons of length that UTV has had to delay the release of the Tamil dubbed version of Jodhaa Akbar. The date for its release in Tamil Nadu has not yet been fixed.

The Telugu dubbed version is due for March 6 release. It was not simultaneously released in Andhra Pradesh because distributors did not want it to clash with the original Hindi version.

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