Close on the heels of John Abraham’s Madras Cafe that managed to impress the audience with its serious content, came Satyagraha, Prakash Jha’s new film to take on corruption in the country. Despite the latter project boasting a stellar star cast, the crowds didn’t exactly come pouring into the movie theatres on its first day. However, over the weekend the numbers picked up, raking in approximately Rs 35 crore.
In the meanwhile, John’s film continues to draw the audience into the theatres. Shah Rukh Khan-Deepika Padukone starrer Chennai Express has broken all records, surpassing Aamir Khan’s 3 Idiots that had earned Rs 202 crore nett. At Rs 206 crore, trade insiders say the figures are expected to rise further. Trade analyst Amod Mehra says, “Satyagraha is an average fare but given the price of the film, it is far from being called a safe project. Prakash Jha’s last hit Raajneeti was released across 1,100 screens, whereas Satyagraha is being shown across 2,400 screens.
The film has done very well in few pockets of the country, where politics is the daily staple of locals. The acid test begins Monday onwards. There is nothing much for the female audience and the kids. In its second weekend, Madras Cafe has managed a good audience and is doing well. Chennai Express has broken every record and has become the highest grosser ever in Bollywood.” Distributor Sunny Khanna says, “Satyagraha had a below-average opening on Friday but the film picked up over the weekend. With the kind of star cast and the director’s reputation, expectations were much higher.
Madras Cafe had a good first-week run but failed to sustain the numbers in its second weekend. It collected approximately only Rs 5 crore. While the film is being appreciated by niche audience, it is not translating into box office numbers.” According to Amul Mohan, word-of-mouth has helped Jha’s film to push its way ahead. He says, “The film didn’t open well. But Monday will decide the fate of the film. But I feel this will be the last week for Chennai Express, as the number of shows and the screen count is coming down.”