Cinema hall workers adjust a ticket machine ahead of a scheduled showing of ‘Padmaavat’ in Mumbai, Jan. 24. (Punit Paranjpe/AFP/Getty Images)
Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s historical drama “Padmaavat” got a steady start at the box office, Jan. 26, notwithstanding the widespread protests against the film with many theaters deciding against its screening.
The film based on 16th century poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s work ‘Padmavat’ got mired in controversy after various Rajput groups, including the Karni Sena, alleged that it distorted history, a claim denied by Bhansali.
Historians, however, are divided on whether Rajput queen Padmavati existed.
The film had opened to select paid previews across the country on Jan. 24 and collected Rs. 5 crore, Viacom 18 sources said.
On its opening day i.e. Jan. 25, the film minted Rs. 19 crore, they said.
The figures come at a time when the Multiplex Association of India, which represents around 75% of multiplex owners in the country, had said that its members would not screen the film in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Goa.
However, in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, not even the single-screen theaters dared to screen the film on the opening day.
In Goa, only a couple of single-screen theaters screened it amid police security.
The film starring Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh was released, Jan. 25, after the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) cleared it last month with a ‘U/A’ certificate and five modifications, including the title change from “Padmavati” to “Padmaavat.”
While parts of north India saw violence owing to the release of the film, police maintained a tight vigil outside theaters in Mumbai screening the film.
Some policemen were also deployed inside the cinema halls to thwart any attempt to disrupt the screening, said an official.
The city police had also tightened security at the residences of Bhansali and Padukone in Mumbai.