Kalki 2898 AD mania everywhere

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26 June 2024

Kalki 2898 AD is the biggest film of the year and naturally the excitement surrounding it is at a fever pitch. Literally there’s no discussion these days in the Telugu states without the mention of when someone is catching the film and where. While the film’s makers have hardly conducted any events in Telugu to promote it– rather relying on dropping some content–Prabhas fans, however, are leaving no stone unturned to drum up buzz around it.

The timing of the film’s release couldn’t be more appropriate for the single-screen fraternity. The last three months, especially, were incredibly hard for the fraternity and as they were scrambling for survival (at one point in May, 450 single-screen theatres shut down operations for two weeks to curb losses due to poor patronage), with film after film falling like ninepins, Kalki 2898 has infused much-needed oxygen into the ramshackle industry if advance bookings are any pointer. The tickets were sold like hot cakes when the pre-sales opened and there is a long queue to grab tickets from the weekdays.

While it is natural for the tickets to attract the frenzy it did in Telugu states, courtesy the combination of star power of Prabhas and the unblemished track record of director Nag Ashwin, many didn’t expect Kalki to get the traction it got in north India. Although it is set to have a creditable run in top-of-the-line multiplexes across the country in view of the extraordinary buzz it is carrying, reports indicate the advances in UP and Bihar are the best for any film this year. Looking at the trends, the Hindi net should be over Rs 20 crore on day one and if the word-of-mouth is positive, there will be pandemonium at the box office. Team India’s semi-final match against England tomorrow evening may have a bearing on the collections in the north but it shouldn’t be a deterrent at the Telugu box office.

The theatrical business for the Telugu states is believed to be valued at around Rs 180 crore, while from Nizam, where Prabhas is one of the undisputed kings, the initial is pegged at around Rs 35 cr gross. SS Rajamouli’s RRR holds the record for day one gross in Nizam (Rs 33.8 cr). Kalki 2898 AD is poised to break that given the number of shows it is getting and the Everest-size interest around it.

Elsewhere in North America, the film is making waves as it has already sold over 1 lakh tickets and made $3 million in sales. With no other major releases for the next two weeks, the film would look to maximize its advantage to the fullest.

The audience has become prudent and fastidious about the quality of content they consume after the pandemic and Kalki 2898 AD, with a deadly mix of futuristic storytelling and Indian mythology, ticks all the boxes for a unique sci-fi adventure. Central to the film’s storyline is the arrival of Kalki, the final avatar of Vishnu prophesied to restore dharma (righteousness) at the end of Kali Yuga. The presence of celebrated figures like Amitabh Bachchan and Kamal Haasan only added more weight to the film, while the rumoured cameos of Dulquer Salmaan, Vijay Deverakonda and Mrunal Thakur further elevated its anticipation among the viewers.

For Prabhas as well, Kalki 2898 AD will be another vehicle to prove his might at the turnstiles, especially at the back of the successful Salaar. In 2015, he headlined Baahubali which was a rite of passage in his career and he would only look to add another event film to his filmography.

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