Roohi starring Rajkumar Rao and Janhvi Kapoor which released on March 11 became the first major Bollywood release in 2021. Before Roohi, only smaller films released in theatres due to COVID-19 impact on the exhibition business. Image: Twitter
A lot of hopes are pinned on the success of the recently released Roohi starring Rajkumar Rao and Janhvi Kapoor, which has shifted gears for the box office business.
Bollywood did offer a few releases between November last year and February this year. There was Diljit Dosanjh's Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari that was released last year on November 13 and Kiara Advani's Indoo Ki Jawani which was released on December 10 and Madam Chief Minister, released on January 21 this year. But none of these releases could make any mark at the box office.
On the other hand, right from the beginning despite negative reviews, Roohi has been able to get audience in large numbers to the theatres and is emerging as a strong venture at the box office.
The film so far has been able to collect Rs 16.75 crore which is the highest for any Bollywood film in the last one year. Also, Roohi has managed to grab this total in 10 days of its release. The film had hit theatres on March 11.
Roohi, made on a budget of Rs 35 crore, is still half way through in terms of returns on investments. While it will be a tough task for Roohi to emerge as a hit venture, if it does succeed at the box office it will be Bollywood's first hit after a year.
The film has already made few records like being the first Bollywood film with the highest opening collections in the pandemic times. The film had started its journey with collections to the tune of over Rs 3 crore.
Films like Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari, Indoo Ki Jawani, Madam Chief Minister had earned around Rs 85 lakh, Rs 22 lakh and Rs five lakh, respectively on their day one.
In fact, Roohi has recorded a higher opening number than Hollywood offerings like Tenet and Wonder Woman 1984 which opened at Rs 1.19 crore and Rs 1.63 crore respectively.
Roohi has been performing well in markets such as Delhi NCR and Kolkata where exhibitors were finding it difficult to bring moviegoers back to theatres due to lack of Bollywood content.
While expectations from Roohi are high as the film can continue earning at the box office for a long time as it faces no major competition apart from John Abraham and Emraan Hashmi-starrer Mumbai Saga, the challenge will be the rising number of coronavirus cases especially in states like Maharashtra.
In fact, the Maharashtra government has reiterated that occupancy in theatres will remain 50 percent which is a big setback for Bollywood films as the state contributes around 26 percent to overall box office collections of Hindi films.
So, it will not be easy for Roohi to mint Rs 35 crore or more but the film is finding traction amid cinephiles despite the coronavirus scare and that is the only good news for the film.
Take the example of Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari which, despite the COVID-19 scare and competition from other films, managed to run in theatres for as long as around 130 days and continued to earn all these days. While the collections are still low at Rs 5 crore, the film in its first three weeks had collected around Rs 3 crore and film trade experts had estimated that Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari's lifetime business would be around Rs 3 crore.
Also, remember that Zee Studios, after the film's theatrical release had released Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari on ZEEPLEX, a pay-per-view platform.
While it is estimated that Roohi's lifetime business will be around Rs 20 crore, the film has the chance of running in theatres for a long time and that could help the venture to emerge as a hit at the box office.
And don't forget the film will be releasing on Netflix soon. So, there is money coming in from digital rights as well.