BO: Sarkar 3 outcollects YRF's Bindu, wom poor. Baahubali historic run continues; Alien opens
Saturday, May 13, 2017

Two bollywood films released this week but neither of them will come close to a South Indian film in Northern India. Indeed Baahubali 2 continues to soar at the box office with record collections ruling over Himalayas to Punjab to Kanya Kumari, something that has never happened before.

The first major bollywood release of the week, Sarkar 3 has managed to outcollect the Yash Raj fare Meri Pyaari Bindu on opening Friday, opening best in Maharashtra and Bihar (home market of castmember Manoj Bajpai) collecting in the 4-5 crore range to the latter's 2.5-3 crore haul. The presence of Amitabh Bachchan and previous branding of Sarkar ensured Sarkar 3 got over 1400 national screens, or roughly 700 more than the Yash Raj fare featuring Parineeti Chopra and Ayushman Khurrana. However the word of mouth on both bollywood films is so-so to not looking too positive.

Sarkar 3 is a significant release for Amitabh Bachchan, infact for Brand Bachchan. For those wondering the box office significance is that Sarkar 1 happens to be one of the rare films this century that had gone on to break and hold the Bombay/Mumbai opening record, the title currently being held by Baahubali2. This film, as of 2017, was the last time a film featuring Amitabh Bachchan in the lead broke the opening record and the only time in Ram Gopal Varma's career that that had happened (Satya and Rangeela with Aamir Khan were successful but not record openers). Sarkar 1 had also opened big in the hindi belt. So there was tremendous excitement around the release of Sarkar. That was in 2005.

By 2008 however, when Sarkar 2 ie Sarkar Raj released in June of that year, with Aishwarya Rai in the mix, the box office pull of brand bachchan had actually gone the other way. It had infact decreased. Varma's image as a potentially deep thinking visionary had also taken a hit (and that continues to date with news of his twitter feuds with likes of Vidyut Jamwal and Tiger Shroff - not exactly Francis Ford Coppola-esque). Sarkar Raj fared reasonably ok, but did not have a record breaking opening nor did it leave mark post-release in retrospect.

So to be successful, Sarkar 3 could not have been a drive-by affair. However the film appears to have been just that, made quickly without proper scriptwork, shot disjointedly and released without proper post-production marketing planning. It may not represent end of Bachchan's stardom but it does represent opportunity for a box office hit in central role lost and likely end of sarkar line of films featuring the actor who has as yet failed to mobilize his presumably massive fan following on platforms like twitter (where he is ranked #1 among all Bollywood stars) into box office initial for his movies. The only mitigating factor is the cost of the film is minimal, as there are hardly any action scenes, and much of the movie has been shot inside a drawing room.

On the other hand, the film with the near perfect combination of hindustani mass appeal acting, action, scriptwork, screenplay, right usage of pan-Indian cultural tropes, and modern cinematic techniques: Baahubali 2, collected a record 11-12 crores on its 3rd Friday and could be headed for a record 50 crore haul over the 3rd weekend in its chase for a historic 1500 crore collection.

Alien Covenant has had a decent opening in the hollywood circuit in India, but is below Guardians of the Galaxy from a week ago.


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