"Someone had to take the first step. I knew I had to take the risk and now I think it was worth taking," said Rohit Shetty on his decision to release Sooryavanshi earlier this month.
Akshay Kumar in a poster for Sooryavanshi
Sooryavanshi, after a 19-month-long delay, finally released in cinemas on November 5. By Sunday, the cop action-comedy had earned Rs 151.23 crore at the domestic box office. Director Rohit Shetty recently spoke about Sooryavanshi's box office success, and the struggle he went through to ensure the film's release amid the pandemic.
Among the many Hindi films that have released amid the pandemic, Sooryavanshi has managed to grab the attention of a mass audience, in a way reviving the film industry after a long slump.
Sooryavanshi was initially slated to hit cinemas in March 2020, right around the time COVID-19 begun spreading across the country, and the government announced a nationwide lockdown. The film faced another delay when the second wave of the pandemic hit. Shetty said that holding the film for this long a period was difficult.
He also shared that his final decision to release the film was deemed risky. "But there was a belief that they would come. We analysed a lot of things – the Ganesh Utsav, Navratri, how schools and malls started opening up, and how people started going back to work," the filmmaker told PTI.
He added, “When all of this was happening, I knew people would come to the theatres. Someone had to take the first step. I knew I had to take the risk and now I think it was worth taking. It was not just about me but the livelihood of all those connected to the theatrical business."
Shetty said that while he was waiting to find the right window for the film's release, he was approached by several streaming giants. However, the filmmaker decided to wait, as he was of the belief that Sooryavanshi is only fit for cinema halls even if it meant compromising on profits.
The filmmaker told PTI that he hoped the release of Sooryavanshi after the delay will make people understand that commercial films are not just made to mint money. Shetty said that if profit was the only aim, he would have sold the film to any OTT player for a hefty sum.
Sooryavanshi, which sees Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif reunite onscreen, marks Shetty's fourth cop film. The action-comedy also features Ranveer Singh as Simmba and Ajay Devgn as Singham. Kumar plays an Mumbai’s Anti-Terrorism Squad chief DCP Veer Sooryavanshi, who is tasked with preventing a terrorist attack in the city.