Aamir Khan’s ‘Dangal’ Beats India’s Demonetization Blues

Aamir Khan’s ‘Dangal’ Beats India’s Demonetization
Courtesy of Disney India

UPDATED — Disney India’s “Dangal,” starring Bollywood megastar Aamir Khan, has revitalized a film industry reeling under the after effects of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetization program.

“Dangal”, a rustic woman-empowerment wrestling drama directed by Nitesh Tiwari, released in India on Dec. 23, in the Christmas holiday frame. It collected $15.7 million on its opening weekend and a further $8 million overseas. Its $6.2 million collection on Sunday is the highest single day score ever in Indian cinema history.

It played on 4,400 screens in India in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu versions. Overseas it played on over 1,000 screens in 40 territories. Its gross figure may  be revised upwards to $9 million.

The numbers should come as welcome relief for the Indian film industry. On Nov. 8, Modi announced that all currency notes of the 1000 and 500 rupee denominations would cease to be legal tender and would have to be exchanged for new notes or deposited into bank accounts by the end of 2016. This meant that 86% of all currency circulating in India became worthless overnight unless exchanged or deposited by the deadline.

The reasons cited by the Modi government for the drastic move range from bringing hoarded untaxed income back into the banking system to cutting off funding sources for terrorists and even to making India a digital, cashless economy.

Some 8,500 of India’s 12,000 screens are single screen theatres and these were the worst hit as tickets are usually paid for in cash. Newly cashless punters were more concerned about getting their worthless banknotes exchanged rather than going to the movies.

Single screen cinemas lost approximately 60% of their business, according to industry estimates, and some 700 of them have shut down across the country. Single screens account for some 45% of Indian box office revenue.

The first casualty was “Rock On 2” that released on Nov. 11, three days after demonetization kicked in. The $7 million budgeted film managed to recover $2.5 million at the box office. Subsequent releases like “Befikre,” “Dear Zindagi” and “Kahaani 2” immediately changed their strategy and reduced print supplies to single screens. They concentrated on the higher-priced and higher yielding multiplexes and managed decent box office numbers.

Film production also slowed down across the country as producers ran out of bank notes to pay daily wage technicians who are paid in cash.

With “Dangal” drawing punters back to cinemas, the film industry appears to be limping back to normal, and many ATMs now have limited amounts of cash, but the long term effects of demonetization, whether positive or negative, will only be apparent in the new year when the dust has settled.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 11

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Arnab says:

    The story of the movie is well and the acting of Aamir Khan is incomparable.
    Dangal is the best film of bollywood history also aamir khan’s all movies best

  2. Saimon says:

    Dangal is the best film of bollywood history, not only in box office also in our mind

  3. Pooja says:

    Well it had to beat demonetization blues. The story of the movie is evident well and the acting of Aamir Khan is incomparable.

  4. manu krant says:

    The fact is that demonetization has succeeded and they signs are everywhere. These so-called demonetization blues seem highly exaggerated. Mobile payments are experiencing a massive surge even as liquidity is returning. Any good movie is bound to be successful as, if anything, the confidence in the economy and currency has grown.

  5. Kaliyan. V says:

    It is disgusting that so many money bags cry foul over demonetization. The BJP is a frenzied Hinduism-party. Many neutral citizens believe that this is okay and it is an antidote to the poison of the principle fostered by non-BJP parties that all Hindus in India must necessarily be abjectly subservient to Muslims.

  6. Kaliyan. V says:

    It is very probable that the writer is an enemy of the BJP. By the way, why is Mr A. Khan still in India?

  7. Jawahar Dave says:

    If a movie can amass such a huge collection than how can demonetisation scheme be termed as demonetisation blues?!!! The article itself is oxymoron of what writer wants to project.Media and others till now were claiming that because of demonetisation people have to suffer and many lost their lives standing in queues outside Banks and ATMS.Now how come people not suffer byy standing in queues for a movie ticket?!!!! My appeal to Media is to not make demonetisation as a blunder as it has done marvels in eradicating unaccounted money so far and bigger gains are bound to happen in near future.

    • manu krant says:

      They don’t know India and don’t realise that things are actually better than before. They are used to non democratic governments. So they don’t understand India. It is not their fault. Don’t blame white people as I don’t think articles like this are ever written by them. It is usually Pakistanis pretending to be white or Indian.

    • rohit Chawla says:

      Absolutely. It is the white man media that has zero relevance outside white countries (no relevance e en in US non white areas about 30 to 35 % of USA).

      Demonetization is only one small part. India govt must do much more to minimize shadow economy and unleash an economy that exists in the shadows.

  8. rohit Chawla says:

    Total BS.
    Demonetization of specific currency is just one step to stem the rot of corruption in India. Yes it is causing problems in rhe short term but is flushing out many corrupt practices and people associated with it. As always it is the Mumbai film industry that is crying foul but don’t forget that until recently most of the big names in Hindi film industry were closely associated with the underworld/mafia/crime merchants who financed their movies. Further this underworld figures nexus with pakistan and middle east based terrorists created massive damage to the country.

    This article’s claim that demonetization was responsible for all the flops is the joke of the century! The Mumbai/hindi film industry suffered massive flops because the movie’s they churned out were horrible. Recent trash includes Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Befikre made by two hindi film directors who are notorious creeps promoted drug use, alcoholism, binge drinking, casual sex, pimping and other vices that totally turned off people and are were seen by a very small number of urban dwellers. In fact these movies were massively rejected by entire geographic regions of India. It had nothing to do with demonetization.

    • rohit Chawla says:

      Forgot to add. Of these two creep directors who are cousins, both heavily promote smoking and drinking relentlessly. Their specific targets are Indian women who are always shown smoking and drinking all the time. It us a well known fact that western alcohol and tobacco companies pay these two creepy cousins to promote smoking and drinking by women in their films because they (tobacco and alcohol companies) feel this is a big untapped market now that they have conqueried the stupid Indian male. Tobacco and alcohol in media watchers showed me a clip of the not-straight director creep’s latest film (Ae Dil Hai…), in which the main muslim characters are never shown smoking or drinking but all the other Indian girls who aRe Hindus are shown drinking and smoking. In one party song scene from this not-straight director’s same film, white women and Indian Hindus are shown drinking and doung drugs while the Muslim leads do not. Not straight director’shows such devotion to his terrorist financed muslims by portraying them as chaste…

More Film News from Variety