Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Padmaavat" has marched past the Rs 1 billion mark at the box office in its opening weekend, bringing cheer to the Bollywood cash registers despite facing a long period of struggle for release.
According to Viacom18 Motion Pictures, one of the banners behind the period drama, "Padmaavat" made a total of Rs 1.14 billion by January 28 after releasing on January 25 across 4,000 screens in India.
It hit the screens a day before the Republic Day holiday, but paid previews on January 24 had given its earnings a jump-start of Rs 50 million. This was followed by Rs 190 million on January 25, Rs 320 million on January 26 and Rs 27 crore on January 27 and Rs 310 million on January 28.
Trade analyst Taran Adarsh tweeted: "Protests... Disturbances... No screening in few states... Yet, 'Padmaavat' does excellent business in its extended weekend. The film lost out on substantial business (approximately Rs 350 million to Rs 370 million), but the superb trending in other circuits helped put up a majestic total."
"Padmaavat", based on 16th century poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi's poem "Padmaavat", was caught in a row after protests from Shri Rajput Karni Sena which contended that it distorts historical facts and dents the pride of the Rajput community.
As a result of the ensuing violence, the movie did not release in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh as well as in some theatres across Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
It has received mixed reviews, with some appreciating the movie for its visual brilliance and impeccable performances, while some slamming it for glorifying the practice of Jauhar (self-immolation) and for showcasing Alauddin Khilji as demon-like.
The film's cast -- Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor -- are on a high after receiving positive reviews.
"Padmaavat" is even doing well in the US as well as in Pakistan. However, in Malaysia, the film has reportedly been barred from release over "sensitivities of Islam".