Bollywood has been going through a rough patch and is counting on 2023 releases, especially the first multi-starrer and big-ticket venture ‘Pathaan’, to turn its fortunes. Pathaan is expected to help the Hindi film industry, which has seen collections dip by 28 percent in 2022 at Rs 3,481 crore versus Rs 4,817 crore in 2019.
The film starring Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone is going to hit theatres on January 25. This will be SRK’s comeback on the big screen after four years.
The film's advances have opened, but were delayed as there were speculations that Shah Rukh Khan was avoiding any controversy by opening the advance booking late, said an exhibitor, who didn't wish to be named. Multiplex chains like PVR noted that the film is off to a flying start in terms of advance bookings.
According to reports, Pathaan's advance bookings have reached one lakh tickets at national cinema chains and this indicates a double-digit opening day for the movie. The advances of Pathaan are trending better than Ranbir Kapoor's ‘Brahmastra’, but lower than south superstar Yash's ‘KGF Chapter 2’.
The top films with the highest advances so far are ‘KGF Chapter 2’ with the sale of 5 lakh tickets, ‘Brahmastra’ which sold 3 lakh tickets, followed by Ranveer Singh's ‘83’, Ajay Devgan's ‘Drishyam 2’, and Bhool ‘Bhulaiyaa 2’ at 1.29 lakh tickets, 1.15 lakh tickets, and 1.12 lakh tickets, respectively.
Pathaan, which is expected to release across 4,500 screens, is estimated to have an opening collection between Rs 35-40 crore.
The craze for the film is such that fans of Shah Rukh Khan have booked the entire show at iconic Gaiety-Galaxy cinema in Mumbai.
“This is the first time since 1972 that the morning 9 am show in Gaiety-Galaxy is fully booked in advance. Members of the SRK fan club came to me and booked the morning show. Gaiety-Galaxy will have eight shows of Pathaan and Maratha Mandir will have three shows," Manoj Desai, Executive Director of G7 Multiplex, which is also known as Gaiety Galaxy and Maratha Mandir, a single screen theatre, told Moneycontrol.
He said that if Pathaan takes off at the box office then other upcoming big releases will also get a strong footing. "We have been relying on dubbed content so far. Last year, it was films like ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’ and ‘The Kashmir Files’ that gave us good business; otherwise, it wasn't a good year for theatre owners. All hopes this year is on Pathaan," he said.
While the film industry is counting on Pathaan, the movie faced boycott calls before its release and was criticised for its song ‘Besharam Rang’.
The film has received a UA certificate from the censor board and was asked to make some alterations. It got the censor certificate from the Central Board of Film Certification after a few cuts, insertions, and modifications were done by the producers themselves.
The song, which was at the centre of controversy due to the saffron attire worn by the lead actress in the song, has reportedly been replaced. Some scenes that were considered as showing “partial nudity” have also been removed.
Some of the other changes include the word PM being replaced in dialogues with 'president' and 'minister' a total of 13 times in the film. The words “langde loole” have been replaced by “toote foote” and the words “Mrs Bharatmata” have been replaced by “hamari Bharatmata”.