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Salman roars as fans rejoice

- Tiger’s I-Day Rs 33cr beats Agneepath’s R-Day Rs 23cr

Ankit Jasani and his group of seven friends had walked in for Ek Tha Tiger at Fame (South City) on Wednesday afternoon with their eye on one scene. “Salman Khan’s shirt ripping itself off his body is a defining moment in all his blockbusters. We were just waiting for that scene.”

When it came, pretty late in the second half, Ankit and co. launched into a barrage of wolf whistles and catcalls. The Salman fan was rewarded.

The story was the same everywhere in the city — and across the country — on I-Day as Salman the Tiger roared with ‘his’ Katrina purring along, giving Ek Tha Tiger the biggest opening in Bollywood history. As big as Rs 32.92 crore earned from 3,300 screens, besting Hrithik Roshan’s Agneepath Republic Day opener by almost Rs 10 crore.

“The Ek Tha Tiger opening is phenomenal to say the least. Collections across the country have been record-breaking,” Mumbai-based trade analyst Taran Adarsh told Metro.

On Day One, the love story of a super spy earned Rs 2.5 crore in the Bengal circuit, also a record. “According to these estimates, the distributor share alone at the end of the first week should be in the range of Rs 12- 13 crore, which has never happened before,” said Pritam Jalan of Kushagra Arts, regional distributors of the Yash Raj-produced and Kabir Khan-directed film. The previous best in Bengal was Rs 92 lakh on Republic Day for the Karan Johar-produced Agneepath.

No wonder the trade hopes to welcome Tiger into the Rs 100-crore club between I-Day and Id (August 20). “Bodyguard did it in eight days, Agneepath in six, and Ek Tha Tiger could even do it in four,” said trade analyst Komal Nahta.

At Fame (South City), 20 of the 23 shows of Ek Tha Tiger went full. “We notched up 5,548 patrons for Ek Tha Tiger alone, which is a record. 3 Idiots had brought in 4,777 patrons on the first day,” revealed a Fame Cinemas official.

At Cinemax in Mani Square, the I-Day ticket count was 5,546, the highest ever since it opened in 2009. Ek Tha Tiger’s share? 5,300!

All the INOX multiplexes — Elgin Road to Salt Lake, Liluah to Rajarhat — posted houseful shows. “It has broken records in almost all our properties and looks like the craze is here to stay for at least a week,” said Subhasis Ganguli, regional director, INOX.

If ticket records at the plexes tumbled, the single screens were where the real madness was, thanks to the Bhai-tards (yes, that’s the web jargon for Sallu fans). At Navina on Prince Anwar Shah Road, fans blocked roads at 10am, with a procession of close to 100 armed with garlands, life-sized posters and a musical band.

At Menoka in Tollygunge, fans lined up streets as early as 9am, even though all shows of Ek Tha Tiger had sold out on Sunday itself, the day advances opened. “Early trends indicate that Ek Tha Tiger could be bigger than 3 Idiots,” said proprietor Pranab Roy.

But for Tiger to roar past the Rs 200-crore post (Aamir Khan’s 3 Idiots stands supreme at Rs 202cr, thanks to repeat audiences), the likes of Partha Pratim Chakraborty must take up the baton. The Salman fanatic who watched him in action at Fame (South City) on Wednesday evening was planning to watch it a second time on Saturday, but with a twist. “I would like to relive it in a single-screen theatre again,” said the father of two.

Will Ek Tha Tiger be the biggest ever Bolly blockbuster? Tell ttmetro@abpmail.com