The deal was sealed for die-hard Salman Khan fan Basundhara Ghosh within the first few seconds of watching the trailer of Kick more than a month ago.
“Salman looks so hot in that French beard and killer lines like ‘Mere baare mein itna mat sochna…dil mein aata hoon, samajh mein nahi’ suit his personality,” gushed the model, who has a first-day-first-show date with the superhero this Friday at INOX Hiland Park.
The buzz around the big Id release is so huge that Kick is already looking like it will turn out to be the highest grosser of the year.
“Phenomenal…mindboggling…out of this world…earth-shattering, call it what you will. Kick is set to release with a bang and (the hype) will sustain the craze all through the first weekend and even beyond,” said Mumbai-based trade analyst Taran Adarsh.
Advance bookings for the Sajid Nadiadwala film that features Salman as a masked crusader called The Devil opened on Wednesday afternoon to a typically enthusiastic response from fans. “A Salman film always comes with a lot of hype and Kick isn’t any different,” said Subhasis Ganguli, regional director (east), INOX.
But the thrill of watching the man with the Midas touch from the best seat in the house comes at a price. A weekend ticket at the plush Insignia Lounge of INOX Quest will leave you poorer by Rs 700, the highest-ever price for a movie ticket in the city.
But the rest of the shows at INOX and other city plexes are well within the reach of the average Bolly fan: from Rs 100 for a morning-show ticket to Rs 380-plus for an evening with Salman.
Standalone cinemas that opened advance bookings on Sunday are either sold out or set to be houseful. “Almost all the four shows of Kick on Friday and Sunday are sold out, while the Saturday shows are fast filling up,” said Pranab Roy of Menoka.
At New Empire, the matinee and evening shows from Friday till Sunday are sold out. Ticket sales for the rest are close to 90 per cent.
The rush is despite the plexes and single screens going into Friday the 25th with the maximum number of shows possible. “We have lined up more than 150 shows of Kick at INOX Quest in the first week. The rest of the plexes will have at least 100-plus shows in Week One,” said Pritam Jalan of Jalan Distributors, which holds the regional distribution rights to Kick.
The film is releasing in more than 300 screens across Bengal, a higher count than the 248 screens for Aamir Khan’s Dhoom:3 and 230 screens for Shah Rukh Khan’s Chennai Express.
Trade pundits are predicting business worth “upwards of Rs 150 crore” for Kick. There’s also the possibility of Salman unseating good friend Aamir at the top of the box-office pile. Dhoom: 3 is the biggest Bollywood blockbuster ever with Rs 260 crore in the kitty, followed by Shah Rukh’s Chennai Express with Rs 226 crore.
Tolly star Jisshu Sengupta feels Salman’s films work because they promise one thing: entertainment. “Salman spells entertainment, entertainment, entertainment. The best part about Salman is his attitude. He is so carefree.. I watch his films and once I can make time, I will watch Kick too.”