New Delhi: Even as Bollywood’s big-ticket Diwali offering Thugs of Hindostan bites the dust, actor Vijay’s Tamil political action film Sarkar has justified its high-profile festive release by crossing the ₹ 150 crore mark worldwide in less than a week. The film that ran into trouble with the ruling AIADMK party in Tamil Nadu over the depiction of their late leader Jayalalithaa and her welfare schemes, made an unprecedented ₹ 30 crore in Tamil Nadu on its opening day and around ₹ 6.45 crore in Chennai city alone over its first four days.
Giving in to pressure from AIADMK workers who vandalized Sarkar posters and carried out violent protests in theatres, Sun Pictures, the producer of the film, deleted certain controversial scenes and re-censored it for theatrical screening in Tamil Nadu. Meanwhile, director AR Murugadoss has sought anticipatory bail following which the Madras High Court has restrained the police from arresting him till 27 November.
“Political protest against Sarkar has stirred curiosity and given it further muscle at the box-office," tweeted independent trade analyst Sreedhar Pillai. “A drop (was witnessed) on Thursday and Friday due to “fear psychosis" created by raging political controversies, otherwise would have crossed ₹ 7 crore (in Chennai)."
Meanwhile, the AR Murugadoss directed film is storming the overseas box office. It has earned $839,256 in the United States and is inching towards the $1 million mark. Vijay’s last release Mersal had earned $1,830,866 in the country where it remains the fourth highest Tamil grosser of all-time after Rajinikanth’s Kabali ($4,585,808), Endhiran ($2,021,465) and Kaala ($1,913,110). Vijay’s Theri had collected $1,128,975 in the US in 2016.
At last count, Sarkar had also made £ 386,182 (Rs 3.63 crore) in the United Kingdom, AS$ 420,020 (Rs. 2.21 crore) in Australia and NZ$ 40,879 (Rs. 20.05 lakh) in New Zealand , taking one of the biggest openings for an Indian film in all three territories.
Meanwhile, the AIADMK has hit out against actors Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan who had supported Vijay’s film and said that a movie that was certified by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) should not be re-censored to satisfy the whims and fancies of a political party.