In This Year For Bollywood, ‘Judwaa 2’ Brings Cause For Celebration

The Bollywood comedy Judwaa 2’s father-son-uncle teaming of David and Varun Dhawan and Sajid Nadiadwala—the writer-director, star and producer, respectively—has proven a potent mix, as the picture opened strong on Friday and gained momentum through the weekend to pull in an estimated Rs. 60 crore rupees ($9.3 million) in its first three days in India’s theaters.

That’s the strongest debut for a Hindi-language picture since Salman Khan’s period war drama Tubelight, which collected Rs. 64.8 crore in its opening frame during June’s Eid holiday. It’s also the biggest opening ever for the 30-year-old Varun, whose previous personal best for a picture he top-lined was the 42 crore three-day tally his romance Badrinath Ki Dulhania picked up back in March.

Varun also appeared in the 2015 megahit Dilwale, but credit for that film’s 65 crore opening weekend belongs far more to its lead actor, Shah Rukh Khan, than to the younger actor.

Whereas Tubelight’s debut was widely seen as a disappointment because it fell so far short of Salman Khan’s previous Eid releases (Bajrangi Bhaijaan, for example, enjoyed a 102 crore Friday-Sunday premiere weekend in 2015), Judwaa 2 is being welcomed as a savior of sorts. 2017 has been a tough year for Bollywood, and the industry will take its hits where it can get them.

It turns out that nostalgia is what the northern Indian audience has been wanting because that’s what they’ve been paying for with Judwaa 2. The slapstick comedy is a remake of the 1997 Judwaal, also written and directed by David Dhawan, and moviegoers have been hooting and hollering at all the callbacks to the original film, especially an appearance by Salman Khan, who originated the roles now played by Varun.

The Indian comedy’s grosses took a temporary hit on Sunday as the nation turned its eyes to the India-Australia cricket match, but by Sunday evening business was brisk again. Box office collections should continue to be strong Monday as India celebrates a holiday on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti.

Judwaal 2 tells the story of a pair of twins who are separated at birth and who grow up under vastly divergent circumstance. The two eventually come together to battle a smuggling ring and save their family from certain doom. The cast also features Jacqueline Fernandez and Taapsee Pannu; it was produced by Sajid Nadiadwala.

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