Controversies notwithstanding, 'Jodhaa Akbar' grosses Rs 120 cr

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New Delhi, Mar 20 (UNI) Despite being riddled with numerous controversies since its release, the Hrithik Roshan Aishwarya Rai-starrer 'Jodhaa Akbar' has proved all naysayers wrong, becoming the first blockbuster of 2008 by earning a pathbreaking box office revenue of Rs 120 crore worldwide in just a month since its release on February 15.

Riding on brilliant performances by Hrithik and Aishwarya, as Mughal emperor Akbar and his beautiful queen Jodhabai respectively, and the ''cinematic magic'' evoked by elaborate and opulent sets that bring alive on screen the grandeur and magnificence of the Mughal era, the period romance, a co-production between UTV Motion Pictures and Ashutosh Gowariker Productions is on its way to becoming one of the greatest cinematic triumphs of Hindi cinema, sources in UTV said.

Released on a record 1300 screens worldwide, 'Jodhaa Akbar', made by Ashutosh Gowarikar, the director of the Oscar-nominated 'Lagaan', has also smashed box office records by grossing Rs 120 crore in 31 days worldwide, out of which Rs 90 crore is from India and Rs 30 crore is from the overseas box office.

Talking about the film's box office response, Director of UTV Motion Pictures Plc and co-producer of the film Siddharth Roy Kapur said, '' The response 'Jodhaa Akbar' has received not only in India but worldwide by both critics and viewers is worth all the hard work. 'Jodhaa Akbar' is an epic not merely by virtue of the timeless story it tells, but also because of the tremendous tribulations its creation entailed.

In fact, the film is a standing monumental testament to Oscar nominated director Ashutosh Gowariker's vision and commitment. To complement Ashutosh Gowariker's efforts are power-packed performances by Hrithik and Aishwarya.'' Released across 25 countries in north America, Europe, Asia and West Asia and dubbed in Tamil, Telegu, Dutch and Arabic, 'Jodhaa Akbar' is a sweet tale of romance between Mughal Emperor Akbar and his Rajput Queen Jodhabai.

The collections of the film are specially remarkable if one considers the fact its release in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh was stalled for some time due to protests from the Rajput Karni Sena.

The film could not be released in Rajasthan on February 15 following protests by the Rajput Karni Sena, which called for a ban on the film across the country for its distortion of history.

Then, the Madhya Pradesh Governemnt also banned screening of the film in the second weekend in anticipation of possibility of a law and order problem due to the protests.

However, a couple of weeks ago, the Supreme Court, in response to an appeal by UTV, lifted the ban on the film's screening in Rajasthan, MP and UP.

Ronnie Screwala of UTV Motion Pictures said contrary to what the protests against the film in Rajasthan would indicate, 'Jodhaa Akbar' has evoked tremendous curiosity among people in the state.

'Jodhaa Akbar' attempts to look at an aspect of life of the Mughal King hitherto untouched upon in history books; as 'Akbar The Romantic who in course of his journey from Jalaluddin to Akbar the Great', wins the love of his beautiful queen Jodhaa.'' The film, which features the hot pair of Hrithik and Aishwarya after the hugely successful 'Dhoom2' two years ago, grossed Rs 38.50 crore worldwide in its opening weekend, of which the gross collections in India alone was Rs 25 crore plus, makes it as among the top five weekend openings of all time for a Hindi film.

In the overseas markets too, the collections of 'Jodhaa Akbar' in its opening weekend made it the top five opening weekends of all time for an Indian film.

In the US, where the film was released to 129 prints, the film garnered the second highest opening weekend of all time after last year's superhit 'Om Shanti Om'.

In India alone, the film released in nearly 1000 screens of which 400 were through digital cinemas and over 500 physical prints. The scale of its release makes 'Jodhaa Akbar' the biggest ever release for an Indian film till date, company sources said.

The film has been dubbed in three languages - Hindi, Telegu, Tamil; and subtitled in English, Arabic and Dutch. However, while the original Hindi version and the subitled versions were released on February 15, the Tamil and Telugu versions were released on March 6.

UNI AR SP AS1109

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