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 on 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 per cent. 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 Cinemas.
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 to 80 per cent. It might be because most of the people went on vacation. The film is likely to pick up in the second week."
Prakash 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 Saturday and in Punjab on Monday, it is still on in Uttar Pradesh, which has the maximum Hindi speaking audience.
The Supreme Court on 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 per cent 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 per cent. We were looking upto Aarakshan as it was a long weekend but due to the ban we have indeed suffered losses."(IANS)