S.S. Rajamouli must be an ecstatic man. His recently-released multilingual epic Baahubali: The Beginning, which released on July 10 to rave reviews and packed shows, has now reportedly crossed the Rs 500 crore mark in worldwide collections.
The two-part film — which released in Telugu and Tamil along with dubbed Hindi and Malayalam versions across 4,000 screens — is now only the third film to have earned this kind of money in the history of Indian cinema. The other two, according to a Forbes report, are both Hindi films starring Aamir Khan — Dhoom 3 (2013), which raked in about Rs 524 crore, and PK (2014), which has earned a gargantuan Rs 740 crore (including Rs 100 crore from China).
Still playing in about 2,000 screens even in its fourth week — a remarkable achievement — what is truly special about this film's achievement is that it is the first non-Hindi film to have come close to the aforementioned Khan starrers. Owing to South Indian cinema's limited exhibition in India (as opposed to Hindi films, which can reach 22 or more states in India, they are often limited to distribution in three or four states). The second highest-grossing non-Hindi film now is Rajinikanth-starrer Enthiran (2010), which pulled in about Rs 283 crore.
However, by joining hands with Karan Johar's Dharma Productions, Baahubali: The Beginning was dubbed in Hindi and reached 1500 screens that it probably wouldn't have otherwise. This enabled it to earn Rs 100 crore — the common but somewhat flawed industry benchmark for what is considered a 'successful' Bollywood film — from its dubbed Hindi version alone.
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