'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' may have become the fastest Hindi film to make it to the coveted Rs 100-crore club (INR), but the feat has been overshadowed by 'Baahubali'.
Pitted against the SS Rajamouli epic, the Kabir Khan directorial has managed to rake in only about 2/3rd the amount that 'Baahubali' had done in its opening weekend.
Even superstar Salman Khan found 'Baahubali's' collection scary.
Salman's 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' collections in itself are huge but they are nowhere near the amount Baahubali had earned in its first three days.
On July 10, when SS Rajamouli's film hit the screens, it had grossed Rs 50 crore at the domestic box office. On its first Saturday, 'Baahubali' earned Rs 48 crore, and then Rs 55 crore on July 12. The film earned a total of Rs 153 crore in three days, while for 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan', the figures are Rs 102.6 crore.
At a press conference Salman said, "We don't think we can make that (collections) right now until we're proved wrong. Of course, these numbers (of the film) do scare you. 'Baahubali' is a damn good film but it needed our cinema (Bollywood) to get those numbers."
The Sri Bramaramba theater complex in Hyderabad was surrounded by thousands - mostly young men - from an hour before the start of the show. The crowd surged back and forth at every opportunity, receiving canings from a couple of desperate security guards with sticks.
A glass door was shattered.
Security personnel swiftly spiriting the film's superstar male lead Prabhas, actress Anushka Shetty, director SS Rajamouli and producer Shobu Yarlagadda from their cars and into the theater.
Co-stars Tamannaah and Rana Daggubuti had been dispatched for other premieres in Mumbai.
As the film finished with a cliff-hanger ending, Rajamouli and Yarlagadda looked tearful and gave each other grateful hugs before retiring to a cast and crew breakfast in the morning sunshine of a carefully hidden open-air food court.
There, leading producer and cinema owner (and father of Rana) Daggubuti Suresh Babu told Variety that substantially all cinemas in South India, including most of his own, were playing 'Baahubali,' with tickets to the opening three days all pre-sold.
That was to be expected, but the ambitious film is also a test of how far South Indian film can push back the boundaries within India and abroad.
Awaiting firmer numbers, Yardlagadda said he was pleased as reports came in of sell-out shows in Mumbai - albeit without the near rioting.
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