New Delhi: Superstars Rajinikanth and Ajith have both delivered big for audiences this Pongal. Rajni’s Petta and Ajith’s Viswasam had made ₹71.25 crore and ₹60.25 crore in net domestic box office collections at last count.
“The historic Pongal 2019 long holiday period (10-20 January) at the Tamil Nadu box office has come to an end. Both the releases did well," tweeted trade analyst Ramesh Bala.
According to trade website Box Office India, the figures in Tamil Nadu are higher for Viswasam as it probably has better appeal for the local audience but Petta is well ahead in other markets like Karnataka and Kerala.
The last reported figures for Petta stand at ₹46 crore in Tamil Nadu, ₹12 crore in Karnataka, ₹5 crore in Andhra Pradesh, ₹5.25 crore in Kerala and ₹3 crore in the Hindi markets. Rajni’s charm has not worked in the north despite the massive earnings of his previous release, science fiction flick 2.0 alongside Akshay Kumar.
In contrast, Ajith’s action film Viswasam had earned ₹51 crore in Tamil Nadu, ₹6.25 crore in Karnataka, ₹2.50 crore in Kerala and ₹50 lakh in the Hindi markets, without being dubbed. It is important, however, to note that Petta not only had a wider release but was also dubbed in Telugu and Hindi.
But the quintessential Rajni charm is working well overseas. Petta has made $2.38 million ( ₹17 crore) in the US and ₹12.39 crore in the UAE and Gulf while Viswasam has only managed $253,809 ( ₹1.81 crore) and Rs. 8.11 crore in the same territories. In France, where only admits are reported, the Rajni- and Ajith-starrers have managed 14, 077 and 10.784 entries, respectively.
To be sure, unlike Bollywood, the Tamil film market is still new to box office clashes. Independent trade analyst Sreedhar Pillai wrote in an article earlier this month that the last time two such big-ticket films clashed at the box office was nearly 14 years ago. April 14, 2005, saw Rajinikanth's Chandramukhi taking on Vijay's Sachein. A day later, Kamal Haasan's Mumbai Express hit the screens. Years later, the Pongal of 2014 saw the Vijay versus Ajith confrontation when Jilla clashed with Veeram.