‘Fanaa’ claims record week at B.O.

Love story takes in $7 mil

NEW DELHI — The makers of Bollywood love story “Fanaa” have claimed a record opening-week take of nearly $7 million after the film proved unexpectedly popular in India as well as among expatriate populations in Britain and the U.S.

“Fanaa” (Destroyed by Love), starring popular actor Aamir Khan, made 320 million rupees ($6.93 million) in seven days. That’s the biggest opening week in Indian cinema history, according to full-page newspaper ads taken out by the producers.

Without any central compilation of figures, Indian box office receipts are notoriously contentious, and Bollywood trade analysts were not able to confirm the figure.

All agreed, however, that the film, which had been dismissed by critics, has turned into a huge money-spinner.

“It’s the biggest opening in recent times, and the film is still going very strong,” said trade analyst Vinod Mirani.

Producer and distributor Yash Raj Films said the love story about a blind woman and a Kashmiri separatist had proved popular abroad, helping it beat “Rang De Basanti” — also starring Khan — as the year’s biggest hit so far.

The film has recouped its 250 million rupee outlay despite not being screened in the wealthy state of Gujarat, where cinema owners fear their theatres would be vandalized because of Khan’s comments on a controversial dam resettlement issue.

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