Sanjay Leela Bhansali's latest offering "Ram-leela" earned ₹16 crore at the domestic box office on the opening day, despite shows in several theatres being cancelled due to protests over its content and title.
"Ram-leela", starring Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone in the lead roles, was released in nearly 3,000 screens in India and 500 screens abroad on Friday.
Trade analyst and film critic Taran Adarsh tweeted that "Ram-leela" earned ₹16 crore on the opening day. He added that shows at some cinemas were disturbed and suspended due to protests.
"#RamLeela fetches outstanding start in UAE-GCC. Collects AED 1.05 million on 57 screens," he had earlier tweeted. (AED 1.05 million is approximately ₹1.8 crore).
The romantic-drama is Bhansali's biggest opener as director. "Rowdy Rathore", starring Akshay Kumar earned ₹15.10 crore on the opening day, but Bhansali was only the producer of the film.
It now appears that Ram-leela might beat all of Bhansali's previous films hollow. According to Box Office India, the lifetime earning of his hit film "Devdas" was ₹53.50 crore, while that of "Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam" was ₹32.50 crore and "Black" ₹32.25 crore.
Protests over the film's title and content in several places like Delhi, Indore, Rajkot and Jalandhar have affected the overall collections of the film with its screening being cancelled in several theatres. Bajrang Dal workers in Indore prevented the cinema theatre owners from screening, while religions groups stalled its screening in one of the multiplexes in Jalandhar, according to Press Trust of India (PTI).
Bhansali had earlier changed the title of the film to "Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-leela" following an order by the Delhi High Court. He has also changed a few controversial words in the film, complying with the demands of the protestors but protests ensued on Friday and affected the opening collections.
Meanwhile, "Ram-leela" affected the collections of Hrithik Roshan's starrer "Krrish 3" across the country, reducing its revenue from ₹4.77 crore on Thursday to ₹2.44 crore on Friday.
"Ram-Leela", produced and directed by Bhansali, is an adaptation of William Shakespeare's epic "Romeo and Juliet".