Hot on the heels of the smash debut of the Telugu epic Baahubali: The Beginning, Bollywood has responded in kind with its own blockbuster opening: the tearjerker drama Bajrangi Bhaijaan. The film collected an estimated 102.6 crore/ US$16.2 million during its first 3 days of release in India.
Khan, who also stars in the film, must have worried how his May conviction and sentencing to 5 years in prison for a 2002 hit-and-run homicide might have dampened the prospects for his movie. But like India’s courts, the country’s movie going audience gave the megastar a stay of appeal, supporting Bajrangi Bhaijaan with the biggest opening weekend ever for Khan, and the 3rd biggest in Indian box office history.
Directed by Kabir Khan (Ek Tha Tiger), the film also stars Kareena Kapoor Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and child actress Harshaali Malhotra. The latter, a 7 year-old in her film debut, has received excellent notices for her performance as a mute Pakistani girl who bonds with Khan’s character Bajrangi during their long journey across India to bring her back home.