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Bollywood Talk – Will Ranveer Singh’s 83 be the biggest hit of 2021?

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The cinema business is now almost on track after theatres were allowed to reopen in October. ‘Sooryavanshi’ was the major Hindi film to release this year, on Diwali, and it has emerged as a huge hit, collecting more than Rs 190 crore. Films that are released after this such as ‘Bunty Aur Babli 2’, ‘Antim: The Final Truth’, ‘Satyameva Jayate 2’, ‘Tadap’ and ‘Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’, didn’t work at the box office. And now, ’83’ is all set to release and the film carries a lot of promise. If all goes well, it’ll emerge as the second biggest hit of the year after ‘Sooryavanshi’.

’83’ is based on Indian cricket team’s unbelievable victory in the 1983 World Cup. It stars Ranveer Singh in the role of Kapil Dev and Deepika Padukone as his wife, Romi Dev. Pankaj Tripathi, Saqib Saleem, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Ammy Virk, Nishant Dahiya and others also feature in this film and play real-life characters. The film was supposed to initially release on April 10, 2020. But due to the pandemic, it was postponed to Christmas 2020 followed by June 4, 2021. It now finally releases tomorrow, on December 24.

’83’ has tremendous hype right from the beginning. The subject is very promising and close to the hearts of Indians. Even those who are not interested in cricket are looking forward to seeing it as it’s a classic underdog story. Moreover, the film is devoid of sex and violence. As a result, audiences of all kind and all ages will be watching it.

However, ’83’ faces challenges. While the buzz in the mega cities like Mumbai and Delhi is strong, in the rest of the country, the hype is limited. The promotions haven’t been strong. Also, the film has faced issues in getting screens. Reliance Entertainment, the producers of ’83’, had told exhibitors that if they want to screen ’83’, they’ll have to do so for 2 weeks without sharing shows with any other film. The same order was given to theatres during ‘Sooryavanshi’, which was also released by Reliance. Then, the exhibitors had no choice as they were dying to show a film. Hence, they agreed and gave zero or very less shows to ‘Eternals’, which had clashed with ‘Sooryavanshi’.

This time, the exhibitors don’t mind missing out on ’83’ as the last week’s releases, ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ and ‘Pushpa: The Rise – Part 01’ are doing excellent business. Also, they haven’t forgotten the treatment meted out to them during ‘Sooryavanshi’. And looking at the low buzz and low advance of ’83’ in cinemas where the bookings had commenced, the theatres were okay with not showing ’83’.

Although the latest news is that ’83’ team has bowed down and have agreed exhibitors show sharing with other films, the damage is slightly done. A few theatres opened up the advance booking of the upcoming week with ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ and ‘Pushpa: The Rise – Part 1’. Hence, the overall screen count might be low although reportedly, Reliance is trying its best to get a wide release.

‘Sooryavanshi’ had collected Rs 26 crore on its opening day. ’83’, sadly, won’t be able to have such kind of a day-one figure. The opening is expected to be in the range of Rs 10-15 crore. However, the press saw the film on Monday and the verdict is unanimous. Also, it’s a film best enjoyed in cinemas. With Saturday being Christmas Day, when collections increase substantially, ’83’s day two figures can be huge if all goes well. Then it’ll have to sustain in the weekdays and in the second weekend, during the New Year Holiday weekend. If the public indeed accepts the film wholeheartedly, then its lifetime can cross that of ‘Sooryavanshi’ and thus, it’ll emerge as 2021’s highest grosser.

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