Superstar Shah Rukh Khan has thanked fans after his new film "Pathaan" smashed Indian box office records following its release last week, bringing hope to Bollywood after a spate of weak showings.
"Pathaan" recorded the highest-ever box office collections for a Hindi film for its opening and second day in India, and raked in $30 million in its first five days, trade analyst Taran Adarsh tweeted Sunday.
Its international ticket sales soared past $13.7 million in just three days, according to Yash Raj Films, which produced the movie.
It comes after glitzy Hindi-language Bollywood films struggled at the box office following the reopening of Indian cinemas about a year ago after a pandemic hiatus.
The release of "Pathaan", 57-year-old Khan's first movie in four years, had been highly anticipated.
Khan, popularly known as "King Khan", has a huge fan following around the world. The film also features Bollywood star Deepika Padukone and action hero John Abraham.
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Things "curtailed the happy release"
In recent months, "Pathaan" and other Bollywood films -particularly those starring actors from India's Muslim minority such as Khan- have been criticised by Hindu right-wingers on social media, with activists calling for boycotts.
Hardline Hindu groups had called for "Pathaan" to be banned because Padukone wore a saffron-coloured bikini -a colour associated with their religion- in one of the film's songs.
But Khan thanked fans for showering love on the movie and "bringing life back to cinema", supporting the film "in spite of the fact that there might have been things that could have curtailed the happy release".
"I just want to say there is so much love from all sides and we can never show enough gratefulness," he said at a press interaction in Mumbai.
Videos shared on social media have shown fans in Indian cinemas dancing and cheering during the film.
"The unprecedented celebratory success of 'Pathaan' I think speaks volumes about where we are headed as the Hindi movie industry," theatre chain owner Akshaye Rathi told AFP.
Last year, films from southern India, such as Telugu-language "RRR", dominated box office takings.
"RRR" has also been feted internationally, winning a Golden Globe for best song and scoring an Oscar nomination in the same category.
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