The number 21 yesterday proved to be super lucky for Bollywood action superstar Akshay Kumar. The auspicious date, March 21, saw the release of his period war drama Kesari that’s based on the historic Battle of Saragarhi. This was a last-stand grittily fought between 21 Sikhs of the British Army and 10,000 Afghan invaders on September 12, 1897. If the date (March 21) and number of Sikhs (21) involved in the military action was a coincidence, then the Day 1 collection of Kesari has come as another pleasant surprise for Akshay: the film made Rs. 21.6 crore. And this is being hailed by the box office as a big deal indeed.
Box office pundits are surprised by the cracker of a start Kesari had yesterday. The film opened on a festive holiday, Holi, on which all of India is in celebratory mode at home and does not step out till early evening. “So, technically, the Rs. 21.6 crore figure for Day 1 is just half a day’s collection,” said one trade expert. “Majority of the theatres in the country were closed in the morning and afternoon for Holi. The film is expected to pick up further over the weekend.” The opening is special for Akshay because it is the second best start in his career. Gold, which accumulated Rs. 25.25 crore last year, was the first. It was an Independence Day release which saw huge competition in Satyameva Jayate.
Akshay has had two other films going past the Rs. 20 crore mark on Day 1 and these were 2.0 (Hindi, Rs. 20.25 crore) andSingh Is Blling (Rs. 20.67 crore). The former though it opened on a regular Friday had several advantages. It was a sequel co-starring the legendary Rajnikanth and also the biggest and costliest Indian film ever made. Singh Is Blling released on Gandhi Jayanti. Compared to them, Kesari was Akshay’s bigger challenge because the film rested on his broad shoulders and had no draw of a heroine or other actors in the supporting cast. But
Karan Johar of Dharma Production saw that Kesari released at 3,600 screens.