In its second week, the film has replaced several underperforming films, including a couple of Bollywood flicks, to increase its shows.
Two weeks on, Anik Dutta’s Aparajito is continuing its unstoppable run in the theatres. According to distributors, the film is currently running in 65 halls—single-screen theatres and multiplexes—with approximately 125 shows, recording about 90% full house occupancy all over West Bengal. In its second week, the film has replaced several underperforming films, including a couple of Bollywood flicks, to increase its shows. OTTPlay spoke exclusively with theatre owners, distributors, and producer to find out what exactly has put this film on the path to becoming a blockbuster.
On May 13, Aparajito was released in 21 theatres. Within 24 hours, 10 more theatres were added, and the number kept increasing. “We started increasing the number of shows from the second day and the more we increased, the higher the demand for tickets,” Ujjal Biswas of PVR said exclusively to OTTPlay. "In an unheard-of statistic, our total sales figure for the following weekdays became bigger than the release day. The highest recorded figure came on Thursday – six days after its release. This was amazing. Meanwhile, the opening of Belashuru took the box office by storm. We saw a very good response from the audience,” he added.
Meanwhile, the producer of Aparajito, Firdausul Hasan of Friends Communication, sees this as a positive trend for Bengali cinema. “The film brought the audience back to theatres and that for me is the biggest achievement. Usually, the figures – box office collection and number of shows – start to fall from the second week. For Aparajito, it is the opposite. It is growing steadily. Now we have almost six shows on an average in multiplexes and mind you, this is not a common trend in the second week. Many Bollywood films also don’t get this many shows. In the first week, we replaced shows of Jayeshbhai Jordaar and this week, we replaced a few shows of Dhaakad. Isn’t it good news for Bengali cinema?” he asked.
Besides Bengal, Aparajito was also released in other states, including Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, and so on. “We have released the film in PVR properties in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad, and Lucknow. There we are getting housefull shows during the weekends and approximately 80% occupancy on the weekdays,” said Ujjal. Soon, the film will be released in Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala.
Meanwhile, the distributor of the film, Satadeep Saha of SSR Cinemas, said the distribution strategy worked in favour of Aparajito. “The initial release created a visible demand and the gradual increase in shows encapsulated the craze very well. Meanwhile, we are getting a lot of queries from the UK, US, Canada, UAE and other places that have a Bengali community," said Satadeep, who is also a cinema hall owner in Kolkata. “There is an interesting trend in the collection of Aparajito. We are seeing packed houses in the early morning and in the late evening shows. This is pretty unusual for Bengali films and I strongly believe this will reflect in the long run box office collection of the film," he added.
According to unofficial sources, the first 10-day collection of Aparajito has crossed Rs one crore. The second weekend has also proved to be a success story for the film and if this continues, the film will soon be considered a blockbuster – a much-needed but rare scenario in the Bengali film industry. After years, the positive figures and long queues in front of theatres show an overall encouraging trend for Bengali cinema.