Monthly Archives: July 2016

Kabali box office: Rajinikanth’s film earns Rs 110 crore in three days, beats Sultan

The mixed critical reception to Superstar Rajinikanth’s Kabali certainly hasn’t affected its box office business any.

With most shows in the film’s first week sold out at the theatres, that Kabali would score a great box office opening wasn’t in doubt.

A poster for Rajinikanth's 'Kabali'

Still, when the numbers began to roll in, there was a sense of shock at the phenomenal amounts of money Kabali had managed to collect.

After the numbers for its opening weekend collections have been tabulated, Kabali’s box office earnings from Friday, 22 July (when it released) to Sunday, 24 July, amount to a cool Rs 110 crore.

With its opening weekend collection, Kabali has now beaten Sultan — the most recent box office behemoth — which had earned Rs 100 crore in three days. Other films that have repeated the feat? Happy New Year, Dhoom 3, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo.

On Firstpost: As Kabali-Sultan comparisons are drawn, these are the numbers Rajinikanth starrer has to beat

Kabali released in the original Tamil and dubbed versions in Telugu and Hindi in nearly 3,500 screens across the country. As per trade sources, the film’s net box office collections would be roughly Rs 47 cr from Tamil Nadu, Rs 20 cr from the states of Andhra and , Rs 16 cr from Karnataka, Rs 8 cr from Kerala and Rs 19 cr from the rest of India (Hindi+Tamil versions). That comes to a total of Rs 110 cr from India theatricals.

The box office numbers from Tamil Nadu, of course, have been the hugest. The 47-crore opening weekend collection is the highest ever, for any film in the state. Kabali has been exempted from entertainment tax here, and there were many allegations that outside of Chennai city, tickets were sold from Rs 300 to 500 over the weekend. Most screens had six-seven shows on the opening day, to meet the demand for tickets

In Tamil Nadu there is a government cap on ticket prices, with Chennai multiplexes allowed the highest rate of Rs 120; it varies in other places. It is not easy to track the exact box-office numbers in the state, and the figures reported may not be fully accurate.

One thing that can be said is that Kabali has taken a much bigger all-India opening day collections than Rajinikanth’s all-time super hit Enthiran (Robot). But it is early days yet, when it comes to saying whether or not Kabali will break Enthiran’s record of being Rajinikanth’s highest earning film.

And this is where those adverse film reviews may play spoilsport.

Dishoom’s makers are trying to prevent a piracy leak; here’s how

Varun Dhawan, John Abraham and Jacqueline Fernandez starrer  Dishoom certainly doesn’t want to go the Great Grand Masti and Udta Punjab way.

The film is releasing on 29 July, and the makers are planning ways to combat the looming piracy threat. According to this Times of India report, the producers of Dishoom have approached Bombay High Court to direct all telecom, TV and digital operators to ensure the movie is not made illegally available on any platform.

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This move was a result of a meeting held on 21 July, which was attended by all producers and studios in unison to combat the threat of piracy.

Mukesh Bhatt, president of Film and Television Producers Guild of India, spoke to TOI, saying that the recent examples of piracy are a serious threat to the film industry as a whole, and also to the security of India’s “intellectual assets.” He asked for a high level probe and intervention by the PM on the matter.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that an immediate measure has been taken to ensure no piracy of Dishoom occurs before its release. The copy of the movie has been submitted in an encrypted format to the CBFC for certification, in a DCP-KDM format, rather than a DVD.

The makers of Dishoom surely believe prevention is better than cure.

Animal activists protest against Salman Khan’s acquittal in poaching case

Bikaner: Scores of activists from the Bishnoi community have protested against the acquittal of Bollywood actor Salman Khan by the Rajasthan High Court in two cases related to poaching of Chinkaras in Jodhpur in 1998.

Salman Khan. PTI

Bishnoi community members, who are known for their love of wild animals especially chinkaras and deers, held protests and burnt posters of the actor yesterday.

“We protested against the acquittal of Salman Khan in the cases and burnt his posters,” Vijay Delu, district president of Akhil Bhartiya Jeev Raksha Vishnoi Mahasabha said.

Bab Lal Jaju of animal welfare organization ‘People for Animals’ said the decision of the high court has disappointed animal lovers.

“Yesterday was a black day for animal lovers. We are disappointed and urge the state government to challenge the order in the Supreme court,” Jaju said on Tuesday.

The court had held that the pellets recovered from the Chinkaras were not fired from Khan’s licensed gun.

Everybody loves a bad boy like Salman Khan who makes a good ‘Sultan’

Then comes along a film magnificently titled Sultan, with him being both a good and a bad human, and the fans couldn’t care less about who the real Salman Khan is. What harm can it do to go spend a few hundred bucks to watch him in a langot, rub Bharat mata ki mitti with his hands to literally show what a great son of the soil can do. Except, he does this not for the country but for his love.

This son of the soil is an overgrown middle aged superstar playing a thirty something buffoon jumping across terraces and trees to chase kites (not skirts—brownie point). While at it, he crashes into a helmet covered girl on a bike and her tight slap makes him grin like an idiot and sit on a donkey. Because the grand dilwala is in love with a feisty girl (who is half his age).

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Then to woo her, he crashes into a wedding (but, of course what’s a blockbuster without weddings) and slaps his butt and sings, “baby ko bass pasand hai”.  All right, he’s got some moves there. Why doesn’t he just stick to just that?

But that’s not enough for the Haryanvi ‘baby’ who is a wrestling champion herself and wants someone worthy of her. Finally something makes sense here, but our nonsense man will have none of it.

He will do anything to win her over. Even take off his pants since he has to evolve from the shirtless Dabangg character he has been. He will bare his beefed up torso and his shapely waxed legs, get into a langot, and he will slap his muscled arm and thigh like a true blue desi, Haryanvi wrestler. Since he has never done much beyond driving a few tractors on his father’s farm, he’ll need some kind of a magic wand.

With love is in his mind and heart, and the precious soil on his hands, it takes barely a few weeks for him to become that champion and change the way the Haryanvi baby looks at him. He finally does get her, though. End of story.

Oh but wait. At one point in the film, Sultan alludes to the fact that he wasn’t knocking off big, strong wrestlers for Aarfa. He was wrestling with himself. We soon realise that it’s a story of Sultan vs. Sultan on screen, and a story of Salman vs Bhai, off screen.

But don’t the fans love both really? Somewhere, deep down everyone loves this bad boy who refuses to grow up as he constantly finds a way to redeem himself with his Being Human social work activities and the good son of the soil image on screen. The bad boy paves the way for the good boy on screen. Without one, there can’t be the other.

Salman, with his history of getting into trouble with cars and girlfriends and a few knocks in the court, may just be fighting his own spoilt, brash boy image, and may be constantly trying to fit into a real 50 year old self, the professional that delivers blockbusters after blockbusters. For all we know.

But maybe Salman’s character on screen and off screen needn’t fight. He is doing just fine, creating controversies and ringing in Eid with big box office numbers. It’s a unique duality, but one that is laughing all the way to the box office. Some soil-rubbing, a taut body and kushti/MMA fight scenesand a dance with a pat on the butt does the work for the most part.

Watch: Deepika Padukone, Indian sportswomen feature in inspiring #JustDoIt campaign

Deepika Padukone stars in an inspiring new video with Indian female athletes for a Nike campaign. Taking off from the brand’s tag line: “Just Do It”, the video sees Deepika training hard in the gym and on the badminton court as other athletes  like hockey player Rani Rampal, footballer Jyoti Ann Burrett and cricketers Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandana and Shubhlakshmi Sharma are also visualised pulling off their jaw-dropping feats.

Deepika in a still from the Nike #JustDoIt campaign video. Screengrab from Facebook

Sharing the video on her Facebook page, Deepika accompanied it with a post on how sports has helped her through difficult phases in her life:

“When I was growing up my father said to me, ‘To be the best, always remember the three D’s — Discipline, Dedication and Determination. Follow your heart. Do what you are passionate about.’ Sport has taught me how to handle failure. It has also taught me how to handle success. It has kept me grounded. It has taught me humility,” Deepika wrote on Facebook.

She also referred to her (now commonly known) battle with depression, and her efforts to overcome it.

“Two years ago I struggled with depression,” wrote Deepika. “I was sinking. I almost gave up. But it was the athlete in me that gave me the strength to fight and never ever give up!”

She goes on to exhort everyone to open their eyes to the power of sport, and its ability to make a positive impact on individual lives, and society.

“I want to say to every girl and every boy and every woman and every man…play a sport…because it changed my life…and it will change yours too! Sport has taught me how to survive! It has taught me how to fight! It has made me unstoppable!” Deepika added, before signing off with “‪#‎JustDoIt”.

The video by Deepika for Nike comes in the run-up to the 2016 Olympics at Rio, and is sure to generate even greater support for the Indian contingent as they head for the Games. It had 895,286 views within just seven hours of being uploaded by Deepika.

Udta Punjab’, ‘Sultan’ and ‘Dangal’ show new social, political realities of Punjab and Haryana

The latest Bollywood blockbuster to speak of Punjab (Udta Punjab) is the horrific account of the youth of the state doing drugs. Meanwhile, two superstar films hitting the big screen with tales of the rural heartland of Haryana, are Sultan and Dangal. Riding on Salman Khan and Aamir Khan, the two mega-flicks bring to the fore stories of the youth of Haryana, muscling their way into sporting glory.

Desperate efforts were made to scuttle a big budget film like Udta Punjab, because it spoke the awful truth of the state. Meanwhile, the youth of Haryana, charged with the glamour of being celebrities, are rewriting their destinies.

This is the social and political reality of the two agrarian north Indian states today. Nobody expects the Punjab drug story to change anytime soon. This crisis has hugely empowered the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is now trying to bulldoze its way into the power corridors of the Punjab Secretariat in Chandigarh.

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Haryana, meanwhile, keeps its focus squarely on sports, and has consistently punched much above its weight. Following the Commonwealth Games of 2010, that if Haryana were a country, it would be fifth on the gold medal winners’ tally, after Australia, England, Canada.

Fifteen of India’s 38 gold medals at the Commonwealth Games — nearly 40 per cent of the country’s best-ever haul — were won by athletes from Haryana. The state continued its supremacy over Indian sports in the 2012 London Olympics. Out of the six medals won by India in the London Olympics, four were bagged by players associated with Haryana.

Assembly elections in Punjab are due early next year. Youth power is one of the major routes that AAP wants to take to chart its victory path in the state. Along with promises for better opportunities for education, AAP is out to storm sports turf in the northern state to wrestle political power from arch rivals Congress and SAD-BJP.

Unveiling the party’s Youth Manifesto on July 3, AAP supremo  promised the Punjab Olympic Mission to encourage and empower Punjab sportspersons to win medals for the state. The party’s ‘Youth Manifesto’ also provides for a sports university & three additional sports colleges to encourage sport among Punjab’s youth. It promises the highest prize money of all states for achievement in sports. The prize for an Olympic gold medal – Rs 5 crore!

Despite drug abuse tearing through the  Punjabi pride, physical strength and valour continues to run through the state’s DNA. The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) has failed to animate Punjab sports at grassroot level. This is where  has sensed a huge opportunity. AAP has promised to launch ‘Khedo Punjab’, a mass movement in sports, if voted to power in the 2017 Assembly elections.

Among the sports initiatives promised by AAP is the decision to identify and adopt 500 talented sportspersons, whose training, diet and fitness will be provided free by the state. There is dire need to give the youth story of Punjab a bright turn.

Last year, the Union Sports Ministry had drawn up an ambitious Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme for the Rio Olympics in August 2016. As part of the TOP scheme, star sportspersons from all over the country were allocated funds for enhanced fitness and training for the world’s biggest sporting extravaganza.

Here too, Haryana had emerged as India’s medal factory.

State-wise, Haryana continued its run as the sporting powerhouse of the country, with 16 athletes listed as beneficiaries under the TOP scheme in the first two lists. Most of them were wrestlers and boxers. Star grappler Sushil Kumar led the pack, which also had Yogeshwar Dutt, Bajrang Kumar, Amit Kumar and the Phogat sisters — Vinesh and Babita — in it.

Among the pugilists, Vijender Singh, Mandeep Jangra, Sumit Sangwan, Vikas Krishan and Pinki Jangra were the beneficiaries under the scheme. Later Vijender Singh, India’s most celebrated pugilist, was dropped from the list of beneficiaries under TOP because he had bid goodbye to amateur boxing and turned professional.

Discus thrower Seema Antil and marathon man Sandeep Kumar also benefitted from TOPS. Shooters Sanjeev Rajput, Shweta Chaudhary and Anisa Sayyed were the other Haryana athletes under the sports ministry’s pioneer project.

By comparison, Punjab’s tally was nearly half of what Haryana has scored among the TOP beneficiaries.
In the first two lists, Punjab had only nine Rio hopefuls under the TOP scheme. Its maximum representation was in the field of athletics. Triple jumper Arpinder Singh, shot putter Inderjeet Singh, marathon runner Khushbir Kaur, relay runner Mandeep Kaur and discus thrower Navjeet Kaur Dhillon are Punjab’s flag-bearers under the scheme.

Youth power will play a key role in the Assembly elections in Punjab in 2017. AAP plans to go ballistic with its various campaigns to draw the youth to its fold.

In the 2014 Parliamentary polls, Punjab had close to 4.7 lakh voters in the 18-19 age group. The party had emerged as the giant killer in Punjab, by wresting four of the thirteen Parliamentary seats.

In its debut foray into Punjab, AAP left the ruling SAD-BJP alliance with six seats, and pushed the Congress tally down to only three seats in the Lok Sabha elections, AAP now hopes to build a ‘Nava Punjab’ (new Punjab), energized by the youth and the aspiring middle class of the state.

That will definitely be a whole new flight, and a much-needed shift from Udta Punjab.