I personally didn’t enjoy Heropanti but I was really impressed with Tiger Shroff. This was the time when the netizens were having a field day ridiculing his looks, name, facial features etc. It was heartening to see how the actor didn’t get affected by this criticism and took the jokes in his stride. His performance in the film was quite nice and unknown to many, his killer moves and dance had made him a darling of the masses. This is an impossible feat but Tiger had done the unthinkable. Heropanti was a success at the box office and what’s more, it used to shown in small town cinema halls at regular intervals. And this is great, not just good news, for any actor.
But it was during the day Baaghi released, on April 29, 2016, that it actually dawned upon me how he’s a craze among so many people. I went to catch the first day third show at Mumbai’s iconic single screen theatre, Gaiety. Needless to say, the show was full and moreover, there was palpable excitement in the air. Viewers went crazy as soon as the title of the film was displayed and went crazier when Tiger Shroff had his heroic entry. The whistles and hooting were powerful and even strained my ears! But also it was surprising to see how Tiger has carved a place in the hearts of the masses, with just ONE film! In the last decade or so, I had seen such kind of reception only for Salman Khan in Bollywood.
Baaghi was an even bigger success than Heropanti and even on television; it was one of the top rated flicks of that year. Sadly, Tiger’s next two films – A Flying Jatt and Munna Michael – were flops. The content was to blame but more than that, both these films didn’t focus more on action, for which Tiger is more known for. Fortunately, Tiger’s next and the recent release Baaghi 2 promised to be a complete action entertainer. Since the time it was announced, Baaghi 2 was hot in the trade circles naturally given the popularity of the predecessor. The excitement enhanced once the trailer was out. It promised tons of entertainment and moreover, the action seemed better than part 1. Moreover, it was releasing on Good Friday holiday and as a result, a huge opening was on the cards.
Baaghi had opened at Rs. 11.94 crore and Baaghi 2 was expected to have around Rs. 17-18 crore opening at the max. But, the industry and trade were left in a state of tizzy after it came to light that Baaghi 2 has opened at – guess what – Rs. 25.10 crore! This is a mind-boggling number and except the Khans and Ajay Devgn, no *Hindi* film has crossed the Rs. 25 crore mark on day 1. No Akshay Kumar film has reached this figure in a day. Varun Dhawan at the most reached Rs. 22.60 crore on third day with Judwaa 2, which was long after the positive word of mouth started trickling it. Padmaavat did cross the Rs. 30 crore mark twice but a combination of factors were involved there and not just the popularity of the actors. But with Baaghi 2, Tiger Shroff managed to pull in so many people single-handedly. No reviews were out since the press show didn’t take place a day before. Lakhs of viewers yesterday preferred to spend their hard-earned money in buying expensive tickets because they couldn’t wait to watch Tiger Shroff in action and didn’t prefer waiting for the reports. Such is the fan following of this guy. No other Gen Y actor – Varun Dhawan, Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor and even Ranbir Kapoor – enjoy this level of popularity!
Of course, this is just the first day and Baaghi 2’s lifetime might be less than other contemporary actors’ flicks. Also, one can argue that Baaghi 2 benefited due to the holiday. But even if one removes the holiday factor, Baaghi 2’s opening would have been say Rs. 4-5 crore less, which still would have been mind boggling.
The historic opening of Baaghi 2 confirms once again how important it is to make masala action films and for an actor to be known as a successful action star. Yes, the audiences are ready for new kind of cinema but if you want your film to work pan India, then it has to be simplistic, clean and massy. Tiger Shroff has constantly tried to be in this zone and today he’s enjoying the fruits of his labour. He’s the star of the masses, just like Salman Khan, whose career got a boost when he started doing more of action films with Wanted in 2009. Tiger Shroff is nicely following his footsteps and what’s more, his unconventional jumps and moves have given the action genre a new touch.
Finally, this Rs. 25.10 crore opening has confirmed one fact loud and clear that Tiger Shroff’s popularity is unbelievable. The multiplex and so-called elitist crowd was oblivious to this fact till now, with some even questioning if Tiger even deserves to be called an actor! The day 1 earnings of Baaghi 2 would finally silence them and how!