Gangubai Kathiawadi is highest opener among female-centric movies

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Alia Bhatt’s highest solo opener,. Gangubai Kathiawadi, is also the first to be marketed by Instagram. Photo: Universal Communications

Gangubai Kathiawadi has become Alia Bhatt’s highest solo opening film, surpassing her Raazi. The Sanjay Leela Bhansali film hit the big screen February 25.

The film opened in India to a solid number, Rs. 10.5 crore, on its Day 1 and is expected to pick up over the weekend, especially in metro cities. The advance booking was high, which added to the bumper opening.

The Alia Bhatt starrer opened with double digits despite the theatres in most cities (especially Mumbai and Delhi) having 50 percent occupancy and limited night shows, surpassing all expectations and making it the highest female-centric film opening. It may be noted that no female-centric film ranks among the 50 All-Time Biggest Openers in Hindi cinema, but Raazi, which entered the 100 crore club, was so far the highest opener.

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It may be noted that Bhansali’s last directorial, Padmaavat (with Deepika Padukone in the main role as Padmavati) did open at a record Rs. 24 crore (ranking at 28 in the Top 50), but it also had Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor to pull in the audience.

Riding on critical acclaim as well, Gangubai Kathiawadi is touted to be Alia’s best performance to date. From industry insiders to audiences, the film has been lauded by everyone alike.

Calling it a solid start for the film, a trade portal quoted, “Alia Bhatt is easily the top female star today.”

Compliments poured in from Alia’s colleagues. Like Vicky Kaushal, who had attended the special screening of the film, shared, “Absolutely shook by the sheer brilliance at display in this film. SLB Sir you are a master! And @aliaabhatt don’t even know what to say about you…breathtakingly amazing as Gangu! Hats off.”

Anil Kapoor too took to Twitter to post, “”The world created by #SanjayLeelaBhansali in #GangubaiKathiawadi is mesmerizing! The photography, the music, the dialogues…it’s like watching poetry in motion! @aliaa08 is, in one word, superlative! Still reeling from the sights & sounds of #Gangubai. What a treat!”

Netizens too have hailed Alia’s commendable performance. A user tweeted, “M sure this film break all record’s So I just happened to watch FDFS of #GangubaiKathiawadi & my goodness I couldn’t stop praising Alia’s Performance as Gangubai!”

The film also stars Ajay Devgn, Vijay Raaz and Shantanu Maheshwari. It is co-produced, co-written, directed and edited by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who has also scored the music.

Gangubai Kathiawadi also is the first-ever Indian film to be marketed on the global platform. Instagram global has promoted the film to its 475 million followers.

Other female-centric films that did very well include The Dirty Picture and Kahaani (Vidya Balan), Neerja (Sonam Kapoor), Badla (Taapsee Pannu), the Tanu Weds Manu franchise and Queen (Kangana Ranaut) and two films that had a multi-star female cast—Pink (Taapsee, Kirti Kulhari & Andrea Tarang) and Mission Mangal (Vidya Balan, Sonakshi Sinha, Taapsee, Kirti Kulhari & Nithya Menen). But they did not have high openings (first-day collections).

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