Filmmaker Shankar is known for making his films on exorbitant budget with an exceptional track record of not even a single flop. You could count Boys as unsuccessful, but the film did quite well in Telugu. If you’ve closely followed his films you’ll mostly find an increasing pattern in their budgets. His latest release ‘I’, starring Vikram, is touted to be made on a budget of more than Rs. 120 crore. Following the failures of big-budget films such as Anjaan, Kochadaiiyaan and Lingaa, the stakes were extremely high on ‘I’, which released during the Pongal festival. But distributors didn’t mind betting on the film given Shankar’s successful streak at the box-office over the years. And they weren’t let down, so far, as the film has done phenomenal business worldwide in its first weekend.
‘I’ has already minted over Rs. 100 crore at the box-office, becoming the second film from the auteur to join the prestigious club after Enthiran, which was Tamil cinema’s first film to register the magic figure. What’s surprising is that the film has raked in the moolah outside Tamil Nadu as well. In Kerala, the film even crossed the opening day numbers of last year’s biggest hit Bangalore Days. In the opening weekend, it approximately collected about Rs 11 crore”. In AP, the film raked in Rs. 22 crore in the first five days and is still counting, while in Tamil Nadu, despite mixed and scathing reviews, it has minted about Rs. 40 crore. From Karnataka, where dubbed films are not allowed, I in its Tamil version approximately raked in another Rs. 10 crore. In north India, where the makers released the film in Hindi, Tamil as well as in Telugu, the film collected Rs. 9 crore and went on to earn about Rs. 28 crore from overseas in the opening five days.
But it’s too early to call ‘I’ a blockbuster. Give it another week and we’ll know the verdict. The film did good business because it released on a long festival weekend. The numbers have dropped from Monday, but it’s still going strong with about 70% occupancy in multiplexes. The film was sold for very high price in all markets hence it needs to continue its strong run to be called a successful venture. It has one more week to make as much as possible before Ajith’s Yennai Arindhaal will hit the marquee. Meanwhile, the film has attracted the wrath of transgenders community who claim they’ve been belittled by the way Shankar has portrayed a transgender character. While audiences have gone gaga over Vikram’s portrayal of a hunchbacked character, most of them have also expressed their displeasure over the portrayal of Ojas M Rajani, a transgender. In the movie, Ojas is shown as lusting over Vikram and this has not gone down too well with many.