The Dhanush and Vetri Maaran combination has struck gold at the worldwide box-office. The film has grossed over ₹50 crore from theatricals alone worldwide in 10 days. A beaming Kalaipuli Thanu, producer of the film, said, “ Asuran will gross over ₹100 crore from India domestic theatrical, overseas, digital, satellite and audio. It is Dhanush’s biggest hit in Tamil ( Raanjhanaa in Hindi also crossed ₹100 crore) and a film that puts him among the five big heroes in Tamil cinema.”
The film had no real pre-release buzz but media reviews and WOM (word-of-mouth), took it steps forward. Asuran has been getting rave reviews uniformly across all media platforms from its release. Swaroop Reddy of SPI Cinemas, who distributed the film in Chennai and Chengalpet, said, “From its opening show, the film had super word of mouth which, along with glowing reviews, made it the number one film in Chennai and Chengalpet despite stiff competition.” The film has grossed a little over ₹15 crore in 10 days from these territories, which is huge by any yardstick.
So, what explains this success? Thanu says, “It is a family film that struck a chord with audiences, especially ladies, as they rooted for the characters. In smaller stations, where people said women audiences would not come for the film, due to its violence, there was a standing ovation for Sivasamy in the climax scene. Without audience acceptance in Tier-2 and 3 stations, it would not have been such a big hit. In areas like Tirunelveli-Kanyakumari and Salem, it is doing great business, along with A centres like the 3 Cs. In Kerala, the film has grossed ₹3.35 crore in 10 days and overseas, in the US, it has crossed $300,000 and will become the second-highest grosser after Petta this year. It’s doing well at the Malaysia BO as well. There are repeat audiences for this film and that is one reason why collections are steady during working days.”
Marketing was also one reason that the film did well, especially in its core area (Tamil Nadu). Before its release, it was difficult for Thanu to get screens, as the assumption in the trade was that it was a ‘class film’ and would not stand up to other ‘mass’ films.
Thanks to the clout and goodwill the producer enjoys in the industry, the film started getting more shows and prime screens a couple of days after release. Now, Thanu plans to take the film on to the festival circuit and give it more recognition.
The controversies surrounding the film, its political overtones and the message at the end have also added to the curiosity factor. Supporting the film, veteran director Bharathiraja, in a statement, said, “The film’s motto is not to divide Tamil people on caste basis but to unify them.”
Kamal Haasan was also all praise for the film and called up Dhanush, who is shooting for Karthik Subbaraj’s untitled film in London, and congratulated him for his performance in the film. Manju Warrier, who was present at the special screening of the film for Kamal Haasan, has also been lauded for her role.
Producer G Dhananjayan, who distributed Asuran in the Tiruchi-Thanjavur area, said, “ Asuran is a slice-of-life realistic film but still appealed to family audiences who normally come only for mass entertainers. The film succeeded at the box-office because it was able to address the issue of how it is important to protect your near and dear ones. The film is a benchmark for how to present a critically-acclaimed film for a large audience.” It looks like Asuran will continue its dream run in the State, as there is no opposition till Bigil and Kaithi release for Deepavali.