‘Padmaavat’ opens big at box office

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Mumbai: Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s historical drama “Padmaavat” got a steady start at the box office today, notwithstanding the widespread protests against the film with many theatres deciding against its screening.

The film based on 16th century poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s work ‘Padmavat’ got mired in controversy after various Rajput groups, including the Karni Sena, alleged that it distorted history, a claim denied by Bhansali.

Historians, however, are divided on whether Rajput queen Padmavati existed.

The film had opened to select paid previews across the country on January 24 and collected Rs 5 crore, Viacom 18 sources said.

On its opening day i.e. January 25, the film minted Rs 19 crore, they said.

The figures come at a time when the Multiplex Association of India, which represents around 75 per cent of multiplex owners in the country, had said that its members would not screen the film in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Goa.

However, in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, not even the single-screen theatres dared to screen the film on the opening day.

In Goa, only a couple of single-screen theatres screened it amid police security.

The film starring Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh was released yesterday after the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) cleared it last month with a ‘U/A’ certificate and five modifications, including the title change from “Padmavati” to “Padmaavat”.

While parts of north India saw violence owing to the release of the film, police maintained a tight vigil outside theatres in Mumbai screening the film.

Some policemen were also deployed inside the cinema halls to thwart any attempt to disrupt the screening, said an official.

The city police had also tightened security at the residences of Bhansali and Padukone here.

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