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New Delhi: Superstar Mahesh Babu’s political thriller Bharat Ane Nenu that released last Friday has emerged as Telugu cinema’s latest triumph. The film crossed the Rs100 crore mark worldwide within its first three days, with exceptional performance particularly in the overseas territories.

The Koratala Siva directed film made $ 2,098,451 (Rs13.90 crore) in the US, which has a history of minting good numbers for Telugu films. Recent blockbusters in the country include Jr. NTR-starrer Jai Lava Kusa that had collected $1,282,691 (Rs8.31 crore) by the end of the first week, while family drama Sathamanam Bhavati and epic historical action film Gautamiputra Satakarni had earned $653,664 (Rs4.45 crore) and $1,571,487 (Rs10.70 crore), respectively, within two weeks in the country. Babu’s film has beaten them all already and ranks among all-time Telugu hits in the US like the two Baahubali films.

In Australia, at last count, the film had earned A$ 339,133 (Rs1.72 crore), notching up the second highest opening weekend of 2018, as far as the business of Indian films in the country are concerned. The current top five Indian film earners for 2018 in Australia are Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s war epic Padmaavat (A$ 1,728,642) with its Hindi, Tamil and Telugu versions, Bharat Ane Nenu, Telugu action drama Rangasthalam (A$ 289,768 4), Tiger Shroff-starrer Baaghi 2 (A$ 249,4835) and Punjabi film Sajjan Singh Rangroot (A$ 236,881).

“This is one of Mahesh Babu’s highest openers," said Atul Mohan, editor of trade magazine Complete Cinema adding that the underwhelming performance of the Telugu actor’s last film, spy thriller Spyder that released last September and had made about Rs. 40 crore worldwide in its opening weekend has been arrested.

“A couple of misses don’t affect big names like Mahesh Babu," Mohan said. “He may not have had a great couple of years recently but you can’t write him off. He has definitely bounced back with this one."

Mohan said feedback from distributors and exhibitors on the film pointed to a regular, run-of-the-mill story but a brilliant performance from Babu and extraordinary commercial treatment. The story of a university graduate who gets the chance to become chief minister of an unbifurcated Andhra Pradesh, the film bears similarity with Tamil hit Mudhalvan (1999) that was remade in Hindi as Nayak (2001) starring Anil Kapoor.

“You may call it a political thriller but they’ve used politics as a completely entertaining element," said independent trade analyst Sreedhar Pillai. “That has worked to its advantage."

Experts like Pillai and Mohan pointed to the relatively dull season at the movies lately that had rendered audiences hungry for a big-ticket film like Bharat Ane Nenu. While pan-India examinations over March and most of April meant there were no high-profile releases, the month-long movie strike in a crucial territory like Tamil Nadu meant greater anticipation for a commercial entertainer.

To be sure, the film has grossed Rs2.35 crore over its opening weekend in Tamil Nadu alone.

But it is reporting excellent numbers all over.

“Even theatres in Mumbai with only a couple of shows per day registered 80% occupancy on Sunday," Mohan said, predicting a Rs175-200 crore lifetime business for the film in India alone.

All figures have been sourced from movie website Bollywood Hungama

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