Two years after film business was shattered to bits because of the pandemic outbreak and subsequent shutdown of theatres, the Hindi film industry finally came out of the lull. Ayan Mukerji’s Brahmastra Part One Shiva made a worldwide opening of a whopping $23.9 million over the first three days of its release. It also topped Comscore’s list for the weekend’s worldwide collection.
In the US alone, the film earned $4.4 million over the weekend. On Friday, Brahmastra Part One Shiva made $5.8 million (all languages) in India. The figures make the film the second highest opener Indian film since March 2020. Only KGF Chapter 2 had a better opening day collection with $6.7 million. Originally made in Kannada, KGF Chapter 2 released across screens in Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam and Kannada. Brahmastra also released in Hindi, English, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada.
On Friday, the Hindi version of the film earned $4.5 million in the Indian markets alone. Starring Nagarjuna Akkineni, Amitabh Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt in lead roles, the film released worldwide on September 9.
The film is the first part of a trilogy that aims to explore the world of Indian mythology and the various legends of weapons made from the basic elements of the universe. Mukerji has created an ‘Astraverse’ with his new film – something that can be compared with the legendary universes of Hollywood’s DC and Marvel.
Brahmastra Part One Shiva traces the story of the titular character, Shiva, essayed by Kapoor. Shiva is a young DJ who gets visions about certain criminal events around India and soon discovers he is at the center of a war between the good and the evil. Shah Rukh Khan is seen in a guest appearance while Mouni Roy plays a negative role in the film.
Mukerji gets it perfectly right with the part of building a universe of science fiction, with its roots based in Indian mythology. He avoids getting too deep in those waters and steers clear of too much detailing into the mythological concepts. Even the love story between lead characters Shiva and Isha (Kapoor and Bhatt) is loosely based on the concept of Hindu God Shiva and Goddess Parvati (also known as Isha). The current day parallel of the love story, however, did not work for me. The dialogues are too cheesy and the chemistry does not appear appealing enough.
The film boasts of an ensemble cast that ranges from young stars Kapoor and Bhatt to the veterans Khan and Bachchan. Among the actors, Akkineni is the most impressive, though he has as limited screen presence as Khan.
Just a day after the film’s release, a report claimed that multiplex chains PVR and INOX suffered major losses due to bad box office performance of Brahmastra. However, PVR Cinemas CEO Kamal Gianchandani denied the report and wrote on Twitter, “It amazes me, the false and negative info about @BrahmastraFilm on the internet and in the media. Is it a lack of understanding or is it intentionally designed to cast doubts? Just so that we don’t miss crucial facts, I can now confirm that @_PVRCinemas did $1.02 million Net BO for #Bramhastra on day one.”
He further cited the first day collections (at PVR) for some recent Hindi hits and declared that the chain had a “fabulous weekend”. He wrote, “Sooryavanshi – 5.08 cr, Gangubai Kathiawadi – 2.48 cr, RRR – 8.64 cr, KGF 2 – 11.95 cr Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 – 3.26 cr. The way advances / pre sales are today (Saturday), @_PVRCinemas would easily cross 9 cr NBOC (today) and 10 cr NBOC on day 3/ Sunday. When a film grows further from a record setting day 1 number. The simple take-away is that the paying audiences are enjoying the film and spreading a positive word about it. #PVR is having a fabulous weekend which is so encouraging given the massive lineup of films over the next 3 months.”
Last month proved to be disappointing for the Hindi film industry. Shattering the myths of south Indian films churning better returns at the Indian box office, Puri Jaggannath’s debut Hindi film Liger failed to create the magic. Featuring Ananya Panday and Ramya Krishnan in lead roles, the film was touted as Vijay Deverakonda’s Bollywood debut. Liger disappointed trade pundits who had estimated more than $12 million weekend collection. Deverakonda stars as the titular MMA fighter alongside Panday, Ramya Krishna, and Ronit Roy in pivotal roles.