First it was Sultan. Then, MS Dhoni: The Untold Story caught the nation’s imagination. Now, Aamir Khan’s Dangal has confirmed that India’s moviegoers are loving sports as a theme for their weekend entertainment.
According to The Indian Express, Sultan grossed a shade over Rs. 300 crore (approximately$44 million) while MS Dhoni: An Untold Story was a more modest Rs. 133 crore (a little under $20 million) in gate receipts. Dangal has already well past the collections seen for MS Dhoni and, with no major movies slated to be released during the coming weekend, it is expected to cross the earnings for Sultan too.
If some of the initial momentum for the movie continues into the new year, the movie could well break all box office records. No Indian movie has ever grossed Rs. 400 crore (approximately $59 million) in ticket sales and if all goes well for the movie, it could well set a new benchmark for India’s movie industry.
For the success of the movie, the association with sport, clearly, is unmissable. Directed by Nitesh Tiwari, the film stars Sakshi Tanwar, Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra along with Aamir.
The film tells the real-life story of Mahavir Singh Phogat who trained his daughters to become world-class wrestlers. The story is set in the state of Haryana, where sports for women was considered taboo. Geeta Phogat won the gold medal during the 2010 Commonwealth Games, battling against social norms to become a champion.
Wrestling is a traditional sport in several parts of India and is easy for the masses to identify with the sport. The movie has managed to successfully encash the cultural connect to turn it into a box office success.
Dhoni’s biopic is the story of a small town boy who rose to become the captain within three years of joining the Indian cricket team. He has a committed following and has also led the IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings to success.