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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.

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.

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.

Watch: The real star of ‘Sultan’ trailer is Salman Khan’s Haryanvi accent

There’s a dialogue in the much-awaited trailer of Salman Khan’s next film, Sultan, which goes something like this, “Asli pehlwaan ki pehchaan akhade mein nahin, zindagi mein hai (a fighter’s real identity is not found in the ring, but in life).”

This can be aptly said about Salman Khan’s life. In contrast to his larger-than-life, on-screen image is his personal life — full of controversies. Balancing between the two can be quite the fight. Ever since his legal battles have grabbed the country’s collective attention, we have seen Salman try to give us on-screen characters that are largely white in the black/white scale.

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However, after 25 years in the industry, it was finally with Bajrangi Bhaijaan that we saw something in Salman that we probably would not associate with him before: hard work. We saw a star who believed in his character and played it to a good degree of its potential.

In Yash Raj Films’ Sultan, Salman’s hardwork can be amply seen in the training he must have undergone to develop and maintain an impressive physique through the shooting of the film.

But that is Salman’s forte. What really takes you by surprise in the trailer is his Haryanvi accent. It’s not completely authentic, by any means, but it surprisingly works. It’s not the kind of accent you hear in a metro in Gurgaon, but it’s an accent that will remind you of a Haryanvi kushti player.

The trailer itself is quite telling of the sports drama that Sultan is going to be. It’s entertaining in places and holds your attention enough to let the goofy bits pass by.

Anushka Sharma, who has been breaking out of her bubbly girl phase with movies like Bombay Velvet and NH10, seems like a fitting co-actor for Salman. Her character of Aarfa, a female wrestler, is not the typical Hindi film heroine by a mile, but she retains the spark we have grown to love in her.

She’s our second favourite aspect about the Sultan trailer, after Salman’s accent. We love it because it finally shows us that he’s taking his movies seriously.

Sultan’ in legal trouble: Complaint filed against Salman Khan and director Ali Abbas Zafar

Salman Khan recently thanked the administration and general people of Muzaffarnagar after shooting for his upcoming film Sultan.

A certain Ehtesham Siddiq, however, does not seem to reciprocate the actor’s feelings. Ehtesham has filed a complaint in a local court against Salman Khan and Sultan director Ali Abbas Zafar alleging the movie was shot in Morna area of the district but the location was shown as Rewari in Haryana.

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According to the prosecution, the judicial magistrate has fixed May 3 for hearing the case. The complainant alleged that crew has been shooting in Morna area but the place was shown as Rewari. He also claimed the people of Muzaffarnagar are annoyed.

On April 29, Salman had tweeted about his shooting experience in the town claiming he had “2 much fun”.

May the best Khan win: Shah Rukh Khan pits ‘Raees’ with Salman Khan’s ‘Sultan’ this Eid

The crash of 2015 won’t avert the clash of 2016. It seems Shah Rukh Khan has learnt no lessons from his demoniacal debacle last Christmas when he chose to release Dilwale with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani against all advice, including the Dilwale director Rohit Shetty’s apparent imploration against the head-on collision.

You’d think a wise man and a super entrepreneur like Shah Rukh Khan would have learnt his lesson. No such luck. Despite reports to the contrary SRK will go ahead with another boxoffice clash in 2016. This time he takes on an even more formidable adversary.

Meanwhile, Salman Khan’s makeover as at wrestler in Sultan already has the Salmaniacs drooling in anticipation.

And the date is Eid, which is Salman’s slot when the entire Muslim and Hindu population of India heads to the theatres to watch a his film. Into this insulated paradisaical passage that joins Salman to his fans, enters the other Khan superstar with a film that takes him away from his lover-boy image.

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I wonder what undisclosed reckless impulses has prompted Shah Rukh to take on Salman on the latter’s home territory! Could it be that stubborn defiant streak that we saw in him when he was told to apologize for his comments on Tolerant/Intolerant India? Shah Rukh never turns back even when the road ahead is strewn with broken glass.

Why Eid for Raees?  Diwali is when audiences welcome Shah Rukh Khan with open arms and emptied-out pockets. Give them anything for Diwali, and his fans will lap it up. But during Eid they look for Bhai on the silver screen as the moon peeps out of the clouds. It’s like offering gujiyas for Eid and saiwaiyyan for Diwali. The palate is incongruous.

In the film, Shah Rukh plays Raees Alam, a hooch don in prohibition-ridden Gujarat in the 1980s. From its theme to the choice of leading lady (Pakistan’s Mahira Khan) everything in Raees spells ‘controversy.’

It most certainly seems like a battle of unequals. So what makes Shah Rukh Khan so sure he can pull this off? Could ‘King’ Khan be over-estimating his own power at the box-office and underestimating Salman’s hold over the Eid slot? Or is Shah Rukh just cockily confident of his own space in spite of the underperformance of Dilwale last Christmas?

The last time and only time that Shah Rukh Khan took on Salman at the box-office was in 2006 when on October 20 Shah Rukh’s Don released alongside Salman’s Jann-e-Mann.

Jaan-e-Mann bombed, and Don was a blockbuster. To this day Salman jokes how he urged his fans to watch his colleague’s Don, and they took him too seriously.

It would be interesting to see if the two Khan superstars promote one another’s films this Eid. Or would they drop their lately-assumed postures of bonhomie and get cut-throat in their competitiveness?

This year’s Eid looks severely aggressive. May the best Khan win.

Tipu Sultan was a tyrant, a murderer: Rajinikanth shouldn’t do biopic, says BJP leader

Chennai: Bengaluru-based entrepreneur-producer Ashok Kheny reportedly wants to make a biopic of Tipu Sultan with the 64-year-old southern superstar. Reacting strongly to media reports that Rajinikanth may star in a biopic on Tipu Sultan, Hindu Munani leader Rama Gopalan has urged the superstar to desist from doing so.

Courtesy: ibn live

According to Gopalan, Tipu was ‘anti-Tamil’ and hence no Tamil actors including Rajinikanth should star in the film.

The BJP along with some other organizations told Rajnikant not to accept lead role in the film.

On Sunday, leaders of various parties BJP, Hindu Munnani, and the Hindu Makkal Katchi held a protest over the same.

The BJP and political outfits in Tamil Nadu have warned the actor against accepting the offer from leading Kannada producer Ashok Kheny to play the lead role.

BJP leader L Ganesan was quoted by Indian Express as saying, “Tipu was an aggressor, who committed maximum atrocities against Hindus. Rajinikanth will never take up a role to portray such a character”.

“Tipu Sultan was a tyrant, a murderer… So if someone is making a film showing Tipu as a hero then it is distortion of history,” BJP national secretary H Raja said, according to CNN-IBN.

In his statement, Gopalan said that the film will be an attempt to portray Tipu Sultan as a freedom fighter.