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D-DAY: THE HURRAH...
SRK bombs box office

Shah Rukh Khan kisses Katrina Kaif — his first screen liplock in 19 years, just for Yash Chopra’s last film. Ceeteee.

Ajay Devgn declares: “Tu bhi Sardaar, main bhi Sardaar. Baaki sab bekaar.” Taali.

The Diwali double bill at the box office found takers aplenty, but there was no doubting who the festive first-day champ in town was: Jab Tak Hai Jaan (with SRK as a bomb-defuser in the army) got off to a cracker while Son of Sardaar fizzled more than it sizzled.

If Yash Chopra’s last love story starring SRK-Katrina-Anushka Sharma posted houseful shows through Tuesday, the Ajay Devgn-Sonakshi Sinha-Sanjay Dutt comedy struggled to keep pace.

“Starting from the first show at 9am, all morning, afternoon and early evening shows of Jab Tak Hai Jaan were packed to capacity. Business dipped a little in the late-evening on account of Diwali and Kali Puja. In contrast, Son of Sardaar was a slow starter, registering just 50 per cent occupancy,” said an official of Fame Cinemas.

At the five INOX multiplexes in the city, all shows of Jab Tak went full on D-Day. “The film’s got off to a huge start and our ticket counters are chock-a-block,” said Subhasis Ganguli, regional director, INOX.

Son of Sardaar wasn’t half as big — despite a bit appearance from SRK rival and box-office boss Salman Khan — at INOX, registering 30 to 40 per cent occupancy.

But LOL (laugh out loud) Son of Sardaar — with a Santa-Banta brand of humour — crackled louder and brighter in several other parts of the country, and certainly at standalone cinemas. “At multiplexes, Jab Tak Hai Jaan is outstanding while at single screens and several mass centres, the business of Son of Sardaar is mind-blowing,” said Mumbai-based trade analyst Taran Adarsh.

In Calcutta, though, Son of Sardaar didn’t do well at single screens either. “We opened at about 30 per cent which rose to 40 per cent by afternoon,” said Debashish Dey of Roxy.

At Menoka, by the Dhakuria Lakes, all four shows of Jab Tak Hai Jaan for Tuesday had sold out by last Friday. “We are getting umpteen requests for tickets but can’t spare any because all our shows over the next few days have been booked in advance,” said proprietor Pranab Roy.

No wonder Jab Tak distributor Pritam Jalan was beaming through Diwali: “Though I had expected first-day housefuls in the city, I am surprised that even single screens in Andul and Kanchrapara ran to packed houses all day.”

With a love story that moves from London to Ladakh, Jab Tak drew die-hard SRK fans like Mohammed Asif. “I am a big fan and I make it a point to watch all his films. He looked amazing, especially with the stubble,” gushed the college student, after a show at Fame (South City).

For some, it was the lure of watching Yash Chopra’s last film on the first day. “No one does romance better than him,” said banker Aritro Ghosh at INOX (Forum).

At Broadway, Salt Lake, fans even gave a standing ovation to Jab Tak after one show of the 180-minute film.

That was hardly matched by the occasional wolf-whistle and hoot of laughter at screens showing Son of Sardaar, thanks to Salman Khan’s special appearance, Sanjay Dutt’s corny lines, Ajay Devgn’s antics and Sonakshi Sinha’s spunk.

“I am a big Sonakshi fan.... I prefer comedy to romantic films and that’s why I chose Son of Sardaar over Jab Tak Hai Jaan. It was a double bonanza as I also got to watch the Dabangg 2 trailer!” said Simranpreet Singh after a show at Fame (South City).

Which of the two films will be a bigger hit and why? Tell ttmetro@abpmail.com