Little India: Overseas Indian, NRI, Asian Indian, Indian American

Padmaavat Breaks Box Office Records in North America

Deepika Padukone in Padmaavat.

The Hindi movie Padmaavat, which was finally released on Jan. 25 worldwide after facing widespread protests in India, broke the record for the highest grossing Bollywood film during the opening weekend in North America.

The Sanjay Leela Bhansali-directed film grossed $4.4 million over its three-day Friday-to-Sunday debut period, and $4.9 million over the four-day Thursday-to-Sunday span. Earlier, Aamir Khan’s movie PK held the three-day record when it grossed $3.6 million and his recent hit Dangal held the extended opening weekend record with $4.1 million earned over its first five days.

Starring Deepika Padukone (who appeared opposite Vin Diesel in xXx Return of Xander Cage), Ranveer Singh, and Shahid Kapoor, the period drams also set a new record for the biggest single day grosser of all-time for a Bollywood movie, making $1.85 million on Saturday, Jan. 27.

The movie was released in 326 cinemas across the United States and Canada in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D formats. It also stars Aditi Rao Hydari, Jim Sarbh and Raza Murad.

The movie faced harsh opposition from Hindutva groups like Karni Sena in India. It faced violent protests for the portrayal of Rani Padmavati, who is venerated by the Rajput community. Initially, calls were made by Karni Sena activists to behead the actors and the director.

In riots that ensued after the release of the movie, shops and vehicles were set fire to and cinemas were vandalized in many cities in India. A school bus carrying children was pelted with stones in Haryana’s Gurugram region.

The movie supposed to be released on Dec. 1, but finally came out on Jan. 25 with several modifications, including a change in the name of the movie, which was initially called Padmavati. The film has, however, been banned in Malaysia.