Aamir Khan will return to the cinema after four years with Laal Singh Chaddha. Also starring Kareena Kapoor Khan, the film is an official Indian adaptation of Forrest Gump that featured Tom Hanks. Laal Singh Chaddha releases in theatres on August 11, 2022 and will open alongside Akshay Kumar starrer Raksha Bandhan. With growing concerns over Bollywood films failing to deliver at the box office, all eyes are now on Laal Singh Chaddha to deliver. However, the film has been facing backlash ahead of its release with boycott trends taking over the internet.
LAAL SINGH CHADDHA SCREEN COUNT AND EARLY ESTIMATES
The makers of Laal Singh Chaddha are going for a nation wide release for the film with around 3500 screens across the country, which includes Tamil and Telugu markets. The screens have been divided between Raksha Bandhan [nearly 2500 screens] and LSC. As per early estimates based on advance bookings, the opening day figure of the film is pegged to be between Rs 10-15 crore.
Aamir’s last release, Thugs of Hindostan, recorded the highest opening for Aamir at Rs 50 crore. Before that, PK recorded nearly Rs 26 crore on Day 1. Considering this, it can already be seen that Laal Singh Chaddha might record the lowest opening for the star. IndiaToday.in spoke to trade analysts, Akshaye Rathi and Ramesh Bala, to find out the impact of these trends on the film’s opening.
BOYCOTT CALLS ARE UNFORTUNATE
When asked if the boycott calls have left the exhibitors and distributors worried, Akshaye said, “Yes, obviously they are. Even if a small section of the potential audience who get affected by the trends don’t show up it is a loss for the makers. Firstly, post pandemic, people have become choosy about what they want to watch and when an Aamir Khan film comes, you expect things to get better. However, looking at this, it is only worrying. Also, the screen count has been reduced for the film, which further impacts the overall business.”
He added, “It is not one person’s film, it is a team of hundreds of people who work on production, marketing, and distribution of a film. They have not made any statements that have offended people. They don’t really deserve any backlash. The livelihoods of lakhs and lakhs of people in this value chain are affected due to these boycott calls.”
Akshaye further mentioned, “By calling for boycotts, people are not realising that they are not punishing one artist or a person but the entire value chain. It’s unfortunate. Your frustration and your discomfort shouldn’t affect the livelihoods of many.“
SOUTH MARKET IS SOFT FOR HINDI FILMS
On the other hand, Ramesh Bala told IndiaToday.in that while the South has always been a soft market for Hindi cinema, the boycott might further affect its business. He shared, “I think there has been a sense of worry all over India.”
Bala explained why he is expecting a slow business for Laal Singh Chaddha overall. He mentioned, “Firstly, it [Laal Singh Chaddha] is a remake of a Hollywood movie, Forrest Gump, which most people have seen. It is not an original film like PK which people will rush to watch Aamir Khan in. So, the novelty factor is not 100 per cent . Secondly, the market in the South for Hindi films is usually soft, even for an Aamir Khan movie.”
He continued, “With Laal Singh Chaddha, I am expecting a slow start all over India. The opening day figures won’t be on par with previous Aamir Khan films. I don’t think it will be like pre-pandemic level. In the beginning, especially because Raksha Bandhan is also released. Plus, these boycott calls, everything will contribute to a small level. Even though I am expecting a small impact on the collection, you must now see things with reduced expectations.”