New Delhi: Four releases across languages last Friday made strong political statements, a timely strategy given the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls. The political themes, however, seem to have made a connect as at least the two Hindi offerings, Uri: The Surgical Strike, a fictionalized account of the 2016 attacks and The Accidental Prime Minister, a biopic on former PM Manmohan Singh, have opened well at ₹ 35 crore and ₹ 12 crore respectively.
“2019 begins with a bang, Uri: The Surgical Strike embarks on a flying start, Glowing word-of-mouth is converting into box office numbers," tweeted trade analyst Taran Adarsh. “The Accidental Prime Minister picked up from evening shows onwards. Records decent numbers on day one."
Two other films with political narratives this week were Telugu biographical drama, N.T.R. Kathanayakudu, a biopic on NT Rama Rao and Malayalam political thriller Janaadhipan.
Trade website Box Office India said Uri was an action film but meant to cater to multiplex audiences unlike a film like Baaghi 2 that belonged to the same genre but had broader mass appeal. The fact that the film does not wear its patriotic heart on its sleeve unlike Kangana Ranaut-starrer Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi that is releasing in a couple of weeks, restricts its audience base. The Vicky Kaushal-starrer opened to healthy occupancy rates of 20-25% and made ₹ 8-8.25 crore on Friday, an impressive number considering the lack of star power. Earnings went up on Saturday by around 40%, with territories like Mumbai, East Punjab and West Bengal scoring particularly well.
Anupam Kher-starrer The Accidental Prime Minister also opened to decent occupancy rates of 15-20%, helped by the controversies surrounding the film. A petition filed in the Delhi High Court last week sought a ban on the trailer of the film, saying that it has been made to systematically sway voters ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, further fuelled by the fact that the BJP shared its trailer calling the movie a ‘riveting tale of how a family held the country to ransom for 10 years.’
Having to compete with the new releases, Ranveer Singh-starrer Simmba collected about ₹ 2.50 crore in its third weekend, taking its total business to ₹ 223.50 crore. Having to share screens and eyeballs particularly with Uri now, trade analysts say the film is unlikely to touch the ₹ 250 crore mark.