Sarkar vs Thugs of Hindostan: Once again, regional cinema outruns Bollywood

Time and again, regional cinema has proved its might in the film industry when it has forced Bollywood to take a back seat. Be it on the home turf or in the overseas market, it is no more a one-sided game as the regional film industry is gaining prominence. So much so that even when Bollywood went the extra mile to entertain movie-goers, its regional counterpart emerged as winner.

Thugs of Hindostan, touted as the most expensive Bollywood venture, could do nothing to please the audience. On the other hand, Tamil film Sarkar is making a mark both in India and abroad. Despite releasing on a weekday (November 5), the film managed to bring audiences to theatres in large numbers.
In a matter of six days, AR Murugadoss’ venture pocketed Rs 200 crore worldwide and Rs 100 crore in Tamil Nadu alone. In key international markets, the film has raked in impressive numbers. Until November 11, Sarkar came close to the $1 million mark in the US, Rs 3.63 crore in UK and Rs 2.21 crore in Australia.
Back in India, the film performed well outside Tamil Nadu as well. Film trade analyst Taran Adarsh had tweeted, “The hugely awaited #Tamil biggie #Sarkar, which opened today, has got fantastic showcasing outside Tamil Nadu as well... In Mumbai, for instance, the plexes have allotted 8, 9, even 11 and 12 shows every day, which is a rarity... The hype is truly tremendous... #SarkarDiwali.”
While the industry expected Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Thugs of Hindostan to begin Diwali holiday with fireworks, it was Sarkar that lit up the theatres. And this is despite the protests the film faced in the initial days of its release.
AIADMK, the ruling party in Tamil Nadu, had protested the film’s release that impacted its business for two days. The party had raised objections over few scenes related to their late leader Jayalalithaa in the movie.
After pocketing Rs 50 crore on opening day in India, Thugs of Hindostan has dwindled at the box office with each passing day. It saw over 44 percent decline on day two and the collections have, since then, only gotten weaker.
Internationally as well, Thugs of Hindostan has underperformed. Its overseas total after he first weekend stands at 46.67 crore ($6.40 million)
Sarkar superseding Thugs of Hindostanis not a one-off case. There have been may times when regional cinema overpowered Bollywood.
Earlier this year, Gujarati film Shu Thayu set a new benchmark for Gujarati films. With 900 shows on 212 screens, the movie collected Rs 2.52 crore in two days of its release.
Despite the limited release, Shu Thayucontinued its strong momentum and collected Rs 6.51 crore within four days. Bollywood films that released alongside —Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi and Genius— managed over Rs 13 crore and Rs 3 crore from 1,550 and 800 screens respectively in the same time frame.
Another regional film that needs a special mention is Telugu romantic comedy Geetha Govindam. It remained the first choice for moviegoers in the United States and sidelined all new Indian releases and holdovers. In the US market alone, Geetha Govindamraked in over Rs 26 crore in two weeks. Worldwide, the film did business worth Rs 93 crore.
Tamil film Kolamaavu Kokila was shining bright in key international markets and, until August, generated revenue of Rs 1.28 crore in the US, Rs 25.29 lakh in Canada, Rs 25.72 lakh in Australia and Rs 43.94 lakh in the United Kingdom.
While Bollywood is putting its best foot forward, its regional counterpart is providing quality content with commercial treatment and serving it to the audiences with local language jokes, nuances and gags that go a long way in establishing a connection with people in a particular region.
According to Rahul Puri, MD at Mukta A2 Cinemas, the contribution of key regional markets to the overall industry performance has grown by five percent in recent years. Compared to Bollywood, films from key regional markets are less city-centric.
A similar trend was seen last year in the regional film space. The industry’s share in the overall domestic theatricals ranged between 45 and 50 percent last year with Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam contributing to 70 percent of regional domestic theatrical revenues, according to FICCI report ‘Media Ecosystem-The walls fall down’.

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