'Sooryavanshi' release brings cheer back to theatres, audiences

The theatrical release of Akshay Kumar starrer Sooryavanshi on Friday was imbued with the festive spirit and also hope that it signalled the opening of a post-Covid chapter

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter
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PTI

The response was mixed but the enthusiasm for the first major film from Bollywood since cinemas shut down in March 2020 was unmistakable. The theatrical release of Akshay Kumar starrer Sooryavanshi on Friday was imbued with the festive spirit and also hope that it signalled the opening of a post-Covid chapter.

A day after Diwali, many families were seen lining up outside cinema halls to watch the long-delayed cop drama, which expands the cop universe Rohit Shetty created with "Singham" and "Simmba" and has been awaiting theatrical release since March 2020.

Reliance Entertainment Group CEO Shibasish Sarkar said they are thrilled with the response to the film.

"We are tracking reaction across the country and it is extraordinary. After a long time, we see housefull board outside single screens and multiplexes. The shows picked up after 12.30 pm-1 pm and there's a different momentum.

"A day after Diwali is always a big day from a film point of view. Cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Gujarat, Pune, UP, Lucknow, Varanasi among others are showing unprecedented responses. It's like the good old days hopefully, as audiences are back to theatres," Sarkar told PTI.

The film was released globally on 1300 screens in 66 countries while in India the exact numbers are yet to be shared by the makers.

Theatre owners are also looking forward to a good footfall for the film in the festive week.


"It has been a fantastic response. The morning shows were a little slow but the noon and evening shows are full. It is the right film to get the audience to theatres. It is a sure shot blockbuster, we are expecting Rs 22 crore on day one, leading film distributor Raj Bansal of Entertainment Paradise, a multiplex chain in Jaipur, told PTI.

Soorayanshi will do record business in this new normal world, he added.

According to a fan, who caught the movie in a multiplex here, there were many in the audience who were whistling, dancing and clapping during the key moments of the film, bringing back memories of watching movies in the pre-pandemic era.

It is a pure entertainer for Diwali for the family audiences to come to the theatre to enjoy. One specific scene that talks about the unity of Hindu-Muslim saw many people in the audience cheering up. Rohit has never failed to entertain people through his movies, Dhairya Vora, an event manager, told PTI, who watched the movie in a multiplex chain.

Several states, including Delhi, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, resumed operations in cinema halls from July-August onwards. However, theatres in Maharashtra. a key market for the Hindi film industry, reopened from October 22 with a 50 per cent capacity.

But that did not dim the enthusiasm of ardent movie fans.

Mumbai's most popular single-screen theatre Gaiety saw fans putting a garland over the huge poster of the film.

Manoj Desai, executive director of G7 Multiplex and Maratha Mandir, said he was thrilled at the audience response and the scenes of audiences having a good time brought back the good old days.

"Gaiety, Galaxy and at another single theatre in Bandra all the shows are full, people are very much enjoying the movie. Even at Maratha Mandir, the show is full. We further hope that Maharashtra Government will permit 100 per cent capacity as audiences are coming to theatres with safety precautions and we too are following all the necessary guidelines, Desai told PTI.

Nitin Datar, president of, Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association of India, shared his excitement and said the movie is performing better in single-screen theatres.

"At many centres, the shows were full due to 50 per cent occupancy, especially at the single screen theatres mainly due to Diwali festival and also the fact that a big movie with a huge star cast is releasing after such a long time. However, the exact number of businesses amassed will be known later, Datar told PTI.

One fan was not too enthusiastic about the film but admitted that it was good to be back in the halls.

"The film is average. It couldn't meet the expectations created by the cop franchise of Singham' and Simmba', both were super hits and wonderful to watch. Akshay's first film with Rohit is average. However, there are people who are liking it, a cinemagoer, who did not wish to reveal his name, told PTI.


Looking at the audience reaction, trade pundits believe cinemas will bounce back to normalcy soon.

The hopes of the entire industry were pinned on Sooryavanshi'. It was poised to open big because of the stardom, franchise value, Rohit Shetty and Akshay Kumar brand value and Diwali date, however, content is also important for it to run long.

The film is quite entertaining and hopefully, it should open well, Himesh Mankad, a trade observer told PTI.

The other major films that are slated for theatrical release include Salman Khan-starrer Antim , John Abraham-starrer Satyameva Jayate 2 and Saif Ali Khan-Rani Mukerji-Sidhant Chaturvedi and Sharvari-starrer Bunty Aur Babli 2.

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