Kalki 2898 AD: Trade experts SLAM skeptics: “Some were saying ‘Advance nahin lagegi’. Aaj sabki bolti bandh ho gayi hai”; talk highly of Prabhas: “His choices have come under scanner, be it Radhe Shyam or Adipurush. But his box office pull is UNIMAGINABLE”

Kalki 2898 AD is all set to release tomorrow and its advance ticket sales in Hindi have taken the industry and trade by surprise. Bollywood Hungama spoke to trade experts about this Pan-India film’s advance trending and a lot more.

Skeptics forced to eat their words
Interestingly, until last week, the industry didn’t have many hopes for the film and very few had confidence about the product. Vishek Chauhan, owner of Roopbani Cinema in Purnia, was one of the few ones who told this writer some weeks back that Kalki 2898 AD would be a film to watch out for.

On this, Vishek said, “The young kids are interested in watching the film, as proven by the fact that the 8:35 am show in my cinema hall is almost sold out. Now, the question that Bollywood needs to ask – what is it that the youth are seeing in this film that is exciting them?”

He explained, “It is looking like a top-class Hollywood production. It is giving them the feel and vibe of a film like Dune, with Indian mythology thrown in. A lot of effort has gone into making it and people are rewarding the makers for it by booking tickets in hordes.”

Vishek Chauhan then thundered, “Bollywood, meanwhile, is still in the pre-COVID mode. The two genuine hits that Bollywood has had this year were Shaitaan and Munjya. Both were horror films. It’s a genre that Bollywood used to look down on and consider as ‘B-grade’. But people found it exciting and now, they find Kalki 2898 AD appealing.”

Trade veteran Taran Adarsh, meanwhile, remarked, “Some people were saying ‘Film mein yeh nahin hai, woh nahin hai. Advance nahin lagegi’. Aaj sabki bolti bandh ho gayi hai! Even in smaller centres, Prabhas of course is a crowd puller. Yet, for them to buy tickets in advance is a big thing. Obviously, the casting of Deepika Padukone and Amitabh Bachchan has added to it. Moreover, the mere glimpse of Kamal Haasan has made everyone curious.”

Vishek Chauhan observed, “Interestingly, Kalki 2898 AD, for a change, is not a Prabhas-centric film. In the trailer, Amitabh Bachchan has the maximum footage. Deepika Padukone comes next followed by Prabhas. The risk paid off as people sensed that film mein kuch kahani hogi; isliye trailer aisa kaata hai.”

Prabhas’ supremacy
After Baahubali’s blockbuster success, Prabhas became a force to reckon with. His next film Saaho (2019) had negative word of mouth and yet, was a huge hit. Radhe Shyam (2022) and Adipurush (2023), however, impacted his track record. Salaar (2023), meanwhile, was a hit but could have done better. Yet, for Kalki 2898 AD to open with a bang shows that his star power is intact.

Vishek Chauhan opined, “After Baahubali, Prabhas the actor has never compromised on Prabhas the star. No film has harmed his image, barring maybe Radhe Shyam. What really affects your stardom is when you start playing a paralysed person or doing films to prove your acting prowess. Such films often go against the image. But he has always been portrayed as a hero, be it Saaho, Salaar or even Adipurush for that matter. Also, all his films had masala.”

Taran Adarsh stated, “Prabhas’ choices have come under scanner, be it Radhe Shyam or Adipurush. But look at his box office pull. It’s unimaginable. Any other actor in his place would have been badly impacted in the Hindi belt. But not Prabhas.”

Raj Bansal, the owner of Entertainment Paradise in Jaipur, however, said, “The fate of your last two films affects the opening of your upcoming release. If his last two films were huge hits, then Kalki 2898 AD would have opened at Rs. 35-40 crores.”

Also Read: Amitabh Bachchan underwent 3-hour prosthetic transformation everyday for Ashwatthama’s role in Kalki 2898 AD: “Worth it”

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