Vivek Oberoi, whose filmography in the last decade consists only of box-office duds (with the exception of Grand Masti and Krrish 3), has managed to make a mark at the box office. Of course, he achieved this feat of defying reviews and getting a good opening solely because he piggybacked on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's immense popularity.
The PM Narendra Modi biopic, featuring Vivek in the eponymous role, got a landslide victory over the other big Bollywood release this week - Raj Kumar Gupta's India's Most Wanted - and earned Rs 11.76 crore in its opening weekend, making it Vivek's biggest success as a solo hero in years.
While the makers were originally planning to release the PM Narendra Modi biopic before the Lok Sabha election 2019 kicked off, the Election Commission brought their plans to a grinding halt and ordered a stay on the release and promotions till the polls ended. Which, as it turns out, ended up being a huge blessing in disguise for Vivek Oberoi and team.
Imagine, had the film released before the Lok Sabha verdict. It would have sunk without a trace, dragging Vivek and his hopes of a renewed lease of career along. The timing of the film was of utmost importance. While the EC rained on the PM Narendra Modi team's parade, Vivek's victory in theatres was possible solely *because* it was delayed. Had the BJP win and Modi's return to the Prime Minister's seat not happened on May 23, would the biopic have seen this kind of a response? Unlikely.
In an interview with The Indian Express before the results of the Lok Sabha polls were declared, Vivek admitted that the delay in release worked in their favour. "Now hopefully, on May 23, PM Narendra Modi will come (hinting at the Lok Sabha Elections result) and on May 24 (the release date of the biopic) also PM Narendra Modi will come."
Director Omung Kumar also said, in an interview with a website, that the BJP's win in the general elections would boost the business of his film. "We have our fingers crossed, maybe that will happen. Yes, it will help, if it happens," the filmmaker had said, hoping for the ruling party's return to power for a second consecutive term.
The overwhelming triumph of the BJP is proof that PM Narendra Modi's extraordinary popularity is here to stay. As producer Sandip Ssingh told IndiaToday.in in an earlier interview, our prime minister is "one of the biggest brands in the world".
"He comes from nowhere - he was a chaiwala and he became a prime minister of a nation with a population of 125 crore. He is one of the biggest brands in the world," he told us.
PM Narendra Modi's 'brand value' has rubbed off on to the biopic and made it a cash cow for the makers. In the film too, the director and producer have left no stone unturned to milk this 'brand' from the first frame to the last.
The other big Bollywood release this week - India's Most Wanted - is lagging behind at the box office. Raj Kumar Gupta's espionage thriller, headlined by Arjun Kapoor, tells the story of an undercover operation to capture a deadly terrorist, referred to as "India's Osama (bin Laden)", without the use of any weapons.
Despite getting better reviews, India's Most Wanted has earned Rs 8.66 crore in its opening weekend and is struggling to match up to the numbers of the PM Narendra Modi biopic. The verdict is out: the audience is flocking to the theatres to watch the journey of PM Narendra Modi, from a chaiwala to the prime minister.
With the Modi wave, no, tsunami, sweeping the country, at least the makers of the PM Narendra Modi biopic can confirm, "Achche din aa gaye."