Indian cinema is gearing up for a feverish weekend with major stars Aamir Khan and Akshay Kumar set to go head-to-head against one another in their new movies Laal Singh Chaddha and Raksha Bandhan respectively.
But reports in Indian media suggest that one of them is a clear leader currently.
The long weekend in India will feature two major movies on Indian screens.
Laal Singh Chaddha has also heightened fans’ expectations not only because it is Aamir Khan’s first film in four years since his last project Thugs of Hindustan.
Moreover, it sees the long-awaited reunion with actor Kareena Kapoor. The two have not worked together since Aamir’s cult hit 3 Idiots.
The 2-hour 44-minute film has been cleared by the Indian censor board (Central Board of Film Certification) and has geared up for a country-wide release on some 3,500 screens.
Opening day sales
Prebooking data shared by Pinkvilla shows that the Advait Chandan-directed film has already secured opening day sales of Indian rupees 160 million.
He believed that Raksha Bandhan will manage to garner around INR 100 million in the same period.
Meanwhile, Akshay Kumar starer Raksha Bandhan is a comedy-drama, a genre that Kumar has perfected over the years thanks to his impeccable comedic timing.
A typical Indian view of the love cycle sees Akshay star alongside Bhumi Pednekar, Sadia Khateeb, Sahejmeen Kaur, Smrithi Srikanth and Deepika Khanna.
Long weekend boost
Both movies are hoping to ride the wave of the long weekend in India which starts on Thursday with the Raksha Bandhan holidays, followed by India’s Independence Day on Monday, the Parsi New Year on Tuesday and finally, Janmashtami on the subsequent Thursday.
Laal Singh Chaddha is set to get some 10,000 shows over this period and thus has a good chance to make its mark.
Raksha Bandhan will get similar screen time but Aamir may be able to get the edge by giving attention to the Tamil and Telugu audiences with screenings in that language expected as well.
Bucking the trend
Indian cinephiles and box office observers believe that the two movies will be able to overturn the recent curse of movies that have underwhelmed at the box office.
In the first half of 2022, few Bollywood releases made any sort of impact on the box office including Kartik Aaryan’s Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, Vivek Agnihotri’s The Kashmir Files and Alia Bhatt’s Gangubai Kathiawadi.
July releases Ek Villain Returns and Shamshera both disappointed at the box office.
Distributors, though, hope that with established stars such as Kareena Kapoor, Aamir Khan, and Akshay Kumar returning to the silver screen during extended holidays, the audiences could return to cinemas in large numbers.
Trade pundit and film producer Girish Johar told Times of India that Aamir commands a loyal audience which could be tempted to fill cinemas to see their favorite grace the screen once more.
Booking numbers boosted his optimism.
On the other hand, he was of the view that Akshay Kumar together with director Aanand L Rai on an emotional topic that will connect with many in the audience on an already emotional holiday could muster sufficient magic to promise good numbers at the box office.
He was of the view that both films could end up doing well.