NEW DELHI – The Indian box office is currently dominated by top Bollywood star Salman Khan whose actioner Ek Tha Tiger (There Was A Tiger) has set a record by hitting the coveted Rupees 1 billion ($18 million) mark in its first five days.
Tiger also set a first day opening record by grossing Rupees 320 million ($5.8 million) beating previous record holder, this January's Agneepath, which opened with about Rupees 210 million.
Tiger's strong run is also attributed to an extended weekend after the film opened on India's independence day, August 15, with the holiday spirit stretching to Monday which marked the Muslim festival of Eid.
Produced by Bollywood banner Yash Raj Films, Tiger is directed by Kabir Khan whose credits include Kabul Express and New York. Tiger stars Salman Khan as an Indian spy who is given a mission to track an Indian scientist (Roshan Seth), based in Dublin, suspected of leaking secrets to Pakistan. Along the way, Khan's character falls for the scientist's caretaker, played by actress Katrina Kaif. While Tiger was not cleared for release in Pakistan, the film opened worldwide and industry estimates indicate that the overseas take touched $1 million in the first two days of release.
“More than box office performance, we are really happy that the audience has liked Ek Tha Tiger. There is no other criteria for the success of any film,” a spokesperson for Yash Raj Films told THR.
While Khan has had a string of earlier releases such as Dabangg and Bodyguard that have grossed the Rupees 1 billion mark, observers are expecting Tiger's strong run to continue which could beat the highest grossing Indian film ever, 2009's 3 Idiots, which collected about $70 million (Rupees 3.85 billion).