Gaining momentum and breaking records since releasing just before Christmas, Aamir Khan-starrer Dangal has overtaken his own PK to become the No. 1 Bollywood movie ever in India, per local media. Directed by Nitesh Tiwari, the wrestling drama achieved the milestone in just 17 days of release. Dangal, also now holds the title of the No. 1 Bollywood film ever in North America with $11.13M through Sunday, according to producer/distributor UTV.
The estimated India box office is 345.3 crore ($51.9M) through Sunday, which puts Dangal just past PK. We are waiting on Disney’s UTV to chime in with official figures later today. In India, the standard for box office measurement is a net sum after the deduction of an entertainment tax. There are only four Bollywood films to have ever crossed the 300 crore net mark in the market. They also include PK at 340.8 and Salman Khan’s Sultan (300.45) and Bajrangi Bhaijaan (320.34).
Local site Bollywood Hungama is predicting continued strong midweeks on Dangal, a movie that has captured hearts at home and abroad. (Dangal is also the biggest Indian movie ever in Australia.)
The film set opening records during the December 21 frame and last week overtook Sultan as the biggest movie of 2016 in India.
The performance of Dangal — which is particularly notable given India’s recent demonetization — gives Aamir Khan a trifecta of Christmas blockbusters over the past four years. In 2013, holiday release Dhoom 3 became the top-grossing Bollywood movie ever. In 2014, Khan outdid that film with PK. An industry source says he’s looked at “like Denzel Washington — an extremely talented actor who is also an astute curator who only picks quality projects.” Khan has dozens of credits under his belt, including box office hits Ghajini and 3 Idiots, and 2001’s Oscar nominee Lagaan, which he also produced.
Dangal does not feature an A-list Bollywood actress as is the case with many major titles. It does, however, have a strong female-empowerment message, helping it to resonate with audiences. It’s centered on Mahavir Singh Phogat, who relentlessly pursues his goal of transforming his daughters into world-class wrestlers — ultimately making it to the Commonwealth Games, despite the odds.