Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Baahubali Clash in India’s Heavyweight Box Office Battle

First of all, let’s catch up with the Indian big boys not mentioned on Rentrak’s chart. After a leaden first six months at the box office there, July has thrown up a titanic tussle between two megastars: moustachioed Telugu supremo Prahbas, and his war epic Baahubali, and Muslim main man Salman Khan, and his cross-border drama Bajrangi Bhaijaan.

Baahubali, the country’s much-trumpeted most expensive production to date, at $40m, was looking unbeatable after its record-breaking debut weekend on 10-12 July; its global take was 450 crore ($70.1m) after 17 days on release at the close of this weekend, according to the International Business Times. Which puts it in third place on the list of highest grossing Indian films, overtaking Shahrukh Khan’s 2013 romcom Chennai Express (423 crore) and leaving just Aamir Khan vehicles Dhoom 3 (542 crore) and PK (740 crore) above it.

But on the strength of what looks like a phenomenal overseas performance reflecting Salman Khan’s wider celebrity, not to mention the interest in the manslaughter case hanging over him – Bajrangi Bhaijaan looks to be on almost level pegging after just 10 days on deck. Wikipedia currently quotes it at 437 crore globally, which would mean it’s taken nearly 200 crore outside of India, better than any Bollywood release apart from PK. Bajrangi Bhaijaan is a very Bollywood affair an attempt to gild Salman Khan with some of his namesake Aamir’s altruistic grace. A broad-shouldered CGI spectacular that holds its own with the best of Hollywood, Baahubali has more crossover appeal, so let’s hope non-Indian audiences get the opportunity to lap it up.

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