Three films released on the same day Friday, June 3 have had such different luck that it could almost be a marketing lesson for the film industry. The Kamal Haasan-led "Vikram" crossed Rs 90 crore in its first two days a record also because it was a non-holiday weekend and "Major", starring Adivi Sesh, with Prakash Raj and Revathi playing stellar roles, notched up Rs 25.4 crore, but the much-hyped "Samrat Prithviraj", backed by two big brands (Yash Raj Films and Akshay Kumar) is struggling at Rs 23 crore.
The difference is that "Samrat Prithviraj", produced on a Rs 300-crore budget, opened on 4,590 screens with the blessings of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who has made the film tax-free in his state, whereas "Vikram" is a Tamil-only film running on 3,200 screens and the David in this battle for eyeballs, "Major", made with Rs 30 crore, has been playing on only 1,460 screens.
What should give Adivi Sesh a reason to celebrate is that word of mouth seems to be working for "Major" and it is showing in the 50 per cent rise in footfalls on the second day in what the trade describes as the 'Hindi territory'. Clearly, a contemporary hero, the Mumbai terror attacks martyr, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, even if he's played by an actor barely known outside the two Telugu-speaking states, has more drawing power than a medieval king who takes on an invader, no matter how brave he may have been.
Critics have also pointed out that unlike "Vikram", where Kamal Haasan, Vijay Sethupathi and Faahad Fasil have delivered some power-packed performances, and Adivi Sesh, Saiee Manjrekar, Prakash Raj and Revathi also pull off virtuoso acts, "Samrat Prithviraj" depends entirely upon Akshay Kumar. And he has not been able to do either a Ranveer Singh (as in "Bajirao Mastani"), or an Ajay Devgn (as in "Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior").