In 2022, Hombale Films' Kantara clashed with Ponniyin Selvan 1 at the box office on September 30. Cut to April 2023, Ponniyin Selvan 2 faces off against Hombale's Raghavendra Stores
Mani Ratnam's much-awaited Ponniyin Selvan 2 has finally arrived in cinema halls worldwide. The second instalment of the historical epic features some of the brightest talents in the country, including a studded ensemble cast (Chiyaan Vikram, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Karthi, Trisha, Jayam Ravi and others) and the hype surrounding the film does suggest just how big an event is its theatrical release. The advance bookings and the opening day audience turnout have been quite exceptional and similarly, the response has been highly encouraging and positive. Judging by how things are currently unfolding, the makers would feel assured that they have another commercial hit in store.
However, the road to success will not be an easy one considering that the film faces off against two competent forces outside Tamil Nadu, in the form of Agent and Raghavendra Stores. Agent, starring Akhil Akkineni is likely to offer stiff competition to PS 2 in the two Telugu states and Mammootty's inclusion in the cast will help them gain some momentum in Kerala. Raghavendra Stores, the Kannada release of the week, is perhaps restricted only to Karnataka and a few overseas locations but the Hombale Films tag could prove handy to the film.
And quite interestingly, this isn't the first instance of a Hombale Films release clashing with a Mani Ratnam film at the box office. Only a few months ago, in September 2022, Hombale's Kantara found itself competing against Ponniyin Selvan 1 and the results of that clash can be best described as unprecedented. Ahead of the release, PS 1 was touted as the bigger film based on a number of factors like the director at the helm, the glittery star cast and a 'pan-India' status whereas Rishab Shetty's film arrived at the box office with certain geographical/linguistic restrictions, albeit with a lot of promise. While both films fared really well ultimately, no one expected Kantara to yield the results that it did or rise in stature across the country with such gusto.
Objectively, Ponniyin Selvan 1 managed to gross close to Rs. 490 crores globally against a budget estimated at around Rs. 250 crores. The Tamil version of the film contributed the maximum (more than 80%) with the Telugu and Hindi dubbed versions doing reasonably well. Kantara, on the other hand, surpassed all the trade expectations and ended its theatrical run with over Rs. 410 crores worldwide. And unlike in the case of PS 1, the Kannada film gained pan-India status post its release and over time, each of the dubbed versions made stellar contributions to the box office collections.
Kantara Hindi is said to have grossed Rs. 96 crores with the Telugu version collecting about Rs. 60 crores. Although Kantara and Ponniyin Selvan I took their own individual courses at the box office, one can claim that the Kannada film took away some of the limelight that the Mani Ratnam epic had to its name initially. Did one film's success impact the other's? Well, maybe not in a striking manner but it is for certain that a box office clash always causes an upset or two.
How Hombale Films would wish for Raghavendra Stores to repeat the Kantara feat! Although the Jaggesh starrer will not find much prominence outside Karnataka, the production house would still hope that the film holds its own in the chosen perimeter and compete with Ponniyin Selvan 2 with all its might. All eyes on the box office now.