The pandemic hit us hard, there was no way to fight back

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The film has so far raised more than Rs 97 crore nationwide, according to production house Reliance Entertainment

Bombay: Just over two weeks after the theatrical release of his highly anticipated film “83”, filmmaker Kabir Khan describes his headspace as a “mixed bag.”

While it is fortunate that the cricket drama has received unprecedented love, the feeling is also punctuated by the reality that the project’s box office prospects have taken a hit due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Directed by Ranveer Singh, the film chronicles India’s victory under Kapil Dev, when the team beat the mighty West Indies in the final to win their first-ever World Cup trophy in 1983.

“83” was set to make box office history when it was released – in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam – on December 24, but the full-scale multi-star failed to translate the rave reviews in numbers. bet the film to be made.

The film has so far raised more than Rs 97 crore nationally, according to production house Reliance Entertainment.

In an interview with PTI, Khan called the film a “victim of the pandemic” and said “83” posted the numbers despite tackling COVID-19 restrictions, 50% theater occupancy in key states and the complete closure of movie theaters in Delhi and Haryana.

“I feel elated to have created this film which has received so much love, but at the same time there is a disappointment that everyone who wants to watch it cannot see it today because the pandemic is here with historical figures. We nurtured the film for two years, I waited for the right moment so that everyone could see it on the big screen.

“But with this pandemic, despite our best planning, we can never get it right. We didn’t know that the explosion (of cases) would literally take place on the day we were released. December 24 is when we ( the country) hit 6,000 cases and in 10 days we went through a lakh. It was just sad, “Khan said.

The director said that 48 hours before the release, the team had had an indication that things could get “out of hand”, but it was too late for them to react, so they continued with “fingers crossed.” “.

A day after the film opened, Gujarat, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh announced a nighttime curfew, which Khan said had an impact on the film’s nightly broadcasts. In four days, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal announced the closure of cinemas.

States like Kerala, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh have followed suit and capped room occupancy rates at 50%.

Khan said the severity of COVID-19 kept the team going, as they woke up every day and wondered, “Okay, now what has stopped?”

“So many people loved the movie, so naturally you have to wonder what went wrong and what didn’t work is the pandemic. There was no way of fighting back. The pandemic. is not just about closing cinemas but also this psyche … The mindset (of going out) can change overnight. “

While the film’s reception by audiences has been overwhelmingly positive, Khan believes there was an “agenda” with which the trade reported numbers of “83”, completely eliminating the impact of the pandemic.

“The film is a victim of the pandemic. How can you report the numbers without the context, that there is a pandemic raging there?” asked the 53-year-old filmmaker.

“You compare us to other films that have been released on a normal non-COVID basis, and this is a film that has been hit hard by COVID on a daily basis, as we are losing hundreds of theaters and screens. Despite that, we have touched Rs 180 crore in the world “, he underlined.

While “83” underperformed at the box office, the trade hailed Allu Arjun-starrer “Pushpa: The Rise” as a true blockbuster, with its Hindi version recording over Rs 74 crore at the box office.

The multilingual thriller debuted a week before “83” and collided with the Hollywood superhero film “Spider-Man: No Way Home”.

Khan said that unlike “Pushpa” – who collected Rs 26 crore from his Hindi version in the first week, when everything was working – “83” didn’t even get a chance to enjoy a run without restriction.

“Everyone now knows that December 26 is when it all fell apart, when we realized we were in the middle of a third wave. How much money are they (‘Pushpa’) won before that and how much money did they make after that? Sure, they kept going but at much lower levels than us.

“Where have we even had the chance to fight that? To constantly say, ‘Oh, but that one made money …’ Yes, but look at the relative ratios. If that made Rs 26 crore the first week they added another Rs 50 and we made another 100. The point is when you report numbers and you don’t choose to mention the pandemic at all, doesn’t it seem completely weird? It was a flawed report which is unforgivable. It smacks of agenda and bad professionalism. “

Khan said the entire crew are proud of the film and are confident that it will eventually get its due.

“The film is here to stay, it will never be forgotten. In ten years, if we talk about my filmography, ’83’ will still be on top. It is something that comforts me in the times we are living.,” he added.

Deepika Padukone, Pankaj Tripathi, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Jiiva, Saqib Saleem, Jatin Sarna, Chirag Patil, Dinker Sharma, Nishant Dahiya, Harrdy Sandhu, Sahil Khattar, Ammy Virk, Adinath Kothare, Dhairya Karwa and R Badree also complete the cast of the movie.

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