Bans, protests and a long weekend may have affected the business of director Prakash Jha’s new offering “Aarakshan”, but despite all the problems, the movie about caste-based reservations in the Indian education system has managed to earn Rs.25 crore in four days. Trade analysts are hoping this will pick up in the second week.
Released Friday, the film starring Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Manoj Bajpayee and Deepika Padukone, is described as a well-crafted film on the need for education. The film was said to be made for Rs.42 crore.
“The occupancy stayed around 60-70 percent. The film did not release in Uttar Pradesh. The response in Delhi was average. On Saturday-Sunday cops had stopped the screening of the film in Gurgaon due to security issues, so it did affect the business,” said a source from PVR.
Yogesh Raizada, corporate head (Cinemas) of Wave Cinemas, said: The response to the film was not as good as we expected. We were expecting that the occupancy would be 100 percent as it was a long weekend but the occupancy has been 70 percent to 80 percent. It might be because most of the people went on vacation. The film is likely to pick up in the second week.”
Jha had anticipated losses when the film was banned in three states – Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh for fear of anti-Dalit comments in the movie.
Though the ban was lifted in Andhra Pradesh on Staruday and in Punjab on Monday it is still on in Uttar Pradesh, which has the maximum Hindi speaking audiences.
The Supreme Court Tuesday asked the Uttar Pradesh government to file its reply by Thursday to filmmaker Prakash Jha’s petition seeking a stay of the ban.
“The film did not release in Uttar Pradesh as a result there was a 50 percent drop in our business,” said Puneet Sahay, senior manager for programming and operations at Spice Cinemas, Noida.
“We were running old films and it’s occupancy was also around 25 percent. We were looking upto ‘Aarakshan’ as it was a long weekend but due to the ban we have indeed suffered losses.”