Even as Bollywood has been struggling with a spate of damp-squib weekends at the box office (and Baar Baar Dekho and Freaky Ali seemingly following suit), the South film industry is seeing its next blockbuster in Chiyaan Vikram's Iru Mugan.
Directed by Anand Shankar and produced by Shibu Thameens, Iru Magan has raked in around Rs 51.19 crore in just four days at the box office (the film was released on Thursday, 8 September), for its Tamil and Telugu versions, worldwide.
Iru Mugan has given Vikram his second biggest opening, after Shankar's I in 2015, and its earnings could be broken up as — Rs 12.66 cr (Thursday), Rs 10.12 cr (Friday), Rs 13.94 cr (Saturday) and Rs 14.47 cr (Sunday), totalling Rs 51.19 cr.
Producer Shibu Thameens told Firstpost, "Iru Mugan has taken a phenomenal opening worldwide considering it released on Thursday, a working day. There was a marginal fall on Friday but with families and children liking the film the weekend collections were very good.”
The film, which released first in India (instead of the normal overseas release), opened to mixed reports. But the Vikram film was able to press ahead and a sympathy wave for the actor among the audiences may have played a role. Iru Mugan is the first film not to be directed by Shankar that has gone on to become a huge hit for the 50-year-old star in the last decade.
The film is performing the best in Tamil Nadu, Andhra and Telangana. In Kerala, the film is doing okay but has been hit hard by Onam Malayalam releases, especially Mohanlal’s Oppam. In Karnataka, due to the raging Cauvery issue, the film had a truncated release, mostly in the Mangalore area and missed out on the core Bengaluru and Kolar areas, which bring in about 90 percent of a Tamil film’s total collections in the state. In the est of India, and overseas territories, Iru Mugan has not performed well.
Surprisingly, word-of-mouth buzz for the film has been better in rural Tamil Nadu’s B and C centres than in Chennai city. Leading lady Nayanthara is being cited as the reason for this. The actress being given nearly equal screen space as Vikram, Harris Jayaraj’s peppy numbers and RD Rajasekhar’s eye-catching camera work all seem to have worked wonders at the box office.
The film, which cost Rs 40 crore to make, will turn profitable from its worldwide theatrical rights in two weeks' time. It has no opposition for the next two weeks in Tamil Nadu, till Dhanush’s Thodari and Vijay Sethupathi’s Aandavan Katalai release on 23 September. The producer is yet to sell the satellite television rights of the film, which will add to his profits.
In any case, Vikram can heave a sigh of relief as he has finally got the elusive hit that will keep his stardom afloat for a few more years.