Acid attack awareness loses to period biopic

Backed by Maharashtra’s monumental collections, 'Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior' slides into three-digit collections, while 'Chhapaak' struggles after week one

Three days before the release of Chhapaak — which she starred in and debuted as producer for — Deepika Padukone was spotted at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi. The actor stood alongside those who protested the mobbed violence that occurred a few days earlier. Right Wing supporters called for the boycott of her film on social media: going as far as to post the same image, with the same seats in the same theatre, cancelling those same tickets.

Chhapaak, directed by Meghna Gulzar, has reportedly been made on a budget of ₹40 crore and released to 1,700 screens across the country. But when the film hit cinemas on January 10, it opened to a reasonable ₹4.50 crore net. While some would insist the boycott had some effect, trade analysts say otherwise. “[The opening] is not a low number [for a film like Chhapaak],” says Shailesh Kapoor or Ormax Media, a firm specialising in trade insights. “If the film was really boycotted, it would have opened 15 to 20% lower. The ‘boycott’ actually created a lot of buzz for the film.” Kapoor adds that in spite of being released to a significant number of screens, the film has only been targeted at three to four metro cities. “The masses aren’t getting influenced by politics [when it comes to films],” he adds. “Chhapaak’s target audience has their own opinions of politics.”

The film is entirely led by a woman without an A-lister male star while tackling a niche subject like acid attacks, with little no ‘masala’ entertainment. Take in to account Gulazar’s last film Raazi, which became Alia Bhatt’s first solo ₹100-crore earner. The film opened to ₹7.33 crore net, a little more than Chhapaak, but continued steadily for several weeks. Unfortunately, Padukone’s film has not been able to sustain an increase in revenue collecting a total of ₹29.70 crore net in about 11 days. Chhapaak might be a dampner on Padukone’s career graph, but it’s only in terms of box office success. After all, her last film Padmaavat became the second highest grossing film of 2018 collecting ₹282 crore net. This time, she’s not waiting another two years to appear on the big screen with Kabir Khan’s 83 set to release in October. For now, it’s quite certain that the film will crawl towards a slow second week and end its run with a lifetime earning around ₹35 to ₹40 crore net.

Big competition

On the other hand, Chhapaak’s immediate competition was Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior, reportedly made with ₹120 crore with a 3,880 screen count. The biographical period film overpowers Chhapaak in mass attraction, budget, scale and even star power with Ajay Devgn and Saif Ali Khan. It’s no wonder then that the film opened at ₹14.50 crore net and continues to pull audiences in its second week earning a total of ₹170 crore net as of this Monday. With disparate subjects and equally different target audiences, it’s not as if the bigger of the two took viewers away from the other. But it’s clear that Tanhaji is the real winner especially considering its performance in Maharashtra which accounts for almost 40% of total revenue. “The film has turned out to be bigger than expected, becoming Devgn’s biggest film to date,” says Kapoor adding that Maharashtra usually contributes to about 20% of a mass film’s collections. Plus, the film has performed well across the board, in single screen and multiplex territories.


With no real competition at the end of Tanhaji’s first theatrical week, it will continue to sustain its collections in week two. This week, Kangana Ranaut’s Panga releases along with Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor-starrer Street Dancer 3D. The two might just cut short Tanhaji’s wining streak which is predicted to snag an impressive ₹200 crore net before bowing out of cinemas.\

Daily box office collections


Chhapaak (revenue in ₹ crore net)

Tanahji - The Unsung Warrior (revenue in ₹ crore net)

Friday, January 10



Saturday, January 11



Sunday, January 12



Monday, January 13



Tuesday, January 14



Wednesday, January 15



Thursday, January 16



Friday, January 17



Saturday, January 18



Sunday, January 19



Monday, January 20



  • Figures courtesy Box Office India

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 8:29:42 PM |

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