Dharma Productions’ magnum opus Bhrahmastra is off to a stellar start at the box office.
The Ranbir Kapoor-Alia Bhatt film, helmed over years, opened to a record-breaking collection of INR750 million on its opening day, according to an official announcement. The figures catapult the Dharma film as the biggest non-holiday opener for a Bollywood film (in India).
The film, which also stars Mouni Roy, Amitabh Bachchan and Nagarjuna in pivotal roles, was targeted by the now infamous boycott Bollywood brigade in the run up to its release. A dated statement by Ranbir on how he relished beef was circulated to lend ‘credence’ to the campaign. Wife Alia’s “…if you do not like me, do not watch me…” comeback has also been employed as “ammo”.
The brigade tasted some success when Aamir Khan’s Laal Singh Chaddha tanked at the box office. While trade experts stand divided on the reasons behind the film’s failure, boycott calls are touted as a chief one. A statement by the superstar on rising intolerance in India and him headlining the super hit PK, a primer on the duplicity of the religious, were cited to present him as anti-Hindu. Wife Kiran Rao was not spared either with her ‘feeling unsafe in India’ comment coming in ‘handy’.
Explaining the trend, trade analyst Komal Nahata told The Financial Express: “This boycott culture started after the sudden death of Sushant Singh Rajput. Some four or five disgruntled people from the industry are to be blamed for it. These people started bad-mouthing Bollywood and spreading lies. If there are so many issues, then these people should leave the industry and not be a part of it. As they were the insiders, people thought what they were saying was the truth. But the reality is – these are the frustrated people who couldn’t make it big. They feel Bollywood has been unfair to them and this was the best time to paint it black. That became a movement and the repercussions can be witnessed before every release.
Others, separately, termed the trend a figment of “sick” minds. Taran Adarsh, another trade analyst, told Bollywood Hungama that while boycott calls for Brahmastra were sharper nothing, he said, could compromise a film’s box office prospects if the content clicked. He presented the example of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat, which released amid controversy, in 2018. The opposite, he posited, held true for Laal Singh Chaddha. Nahata made similar comments to The Financal Express covered afore. Nothing could really impact a film barring a poor script, he said. The audience rejected Laal Singh Chaddha. The impact of a boycott call would have been minimal on its earnings (given its weak premise), Nahata said.
Brahmastra, opening to largely positive reviews and good word of mouth, is set to witness exponential growth on Saturday if early reports are anything to go by. A weekend total way above the magic 100 crore figure is in reach. The Dharma magnum opus looks to have buried the boycott Bollywood trend.