Mammootty’s Bheeshma Parvam sets box office ringing

The film has not only achieved box office success but also critical acclaim — a combination that has often evaded Mammootty in recent times.
Mammootty’s Bheeshma Parvam sets box office ringing
Mammootty’s Bheeshma Parvam sets box office ringing
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Amal Neerad’s Bheeshma Parvam, starring Mammootty in the lead, has taken the box office by storm. The Malayalam film, which is a tribute to The Godfather and is also inspired by the Mahabharata, has seen a phenomenal response from the audience and critics alike. For Mammootty, the film comes as a shot in the arm. It has not only achieved box office success but also critical acclaim —  a combination that has often evaded him in recent times.

In the film, Mammootty plays Michael, a fair-minded don who is also the patriarch of a large family. With several stars such as Nadiya, Soubin, Sreenath Bhasi, Shine Tom Chacko, Srindaa, Lena and others in the cast, the film takes an oft-repeated tale and turns it into an engaging narrative about crime, family feuds and vengeance. 

“Micheal in Bheeshma Parvam is a perfect instance of projecting an actor's stardom, charisma and craft intelligently. There is a fine blend of star and actor on display there. So we are able to enjoy it,” says film critic Neelima Menon. While several star vehicles with Mammootty and Mohanlal have come out over the years, few have managed to get the blend right. 

According to Forum Keralam*, a popular Malayalam film industry tracker, Bheeshma Parvam has crossed Rs 28 crore in gross collection (total ticket sales) from Kerala alone since its release on March 3. In fact, the tracker says that Bheeshma Parvam now holds the record for the opening weekend collection, and has beaten Baahubali (2015) as well as Lucifer (2016) in the Kerala market. “We need to wait and watch to see how the film will fare this coming weekend to assess how the closing business will be, and where it will end up as far as top grossers are concerned,” they add.

Lucifer, directed by Prithviraj, has Mohanlal in the lead, and holds the record for being the highest Malayalam grosser. It is the first and only Malayalam film to earn Rs 200 crore in total business. Bheeshma Parvam’s performance at the box office has reignited fan wars once again, centered on the box office performances of superstar films. 

In the ROI (Rest of India) market, Forum Keralam puts the figure at Rs 3.5 crore for Bheeshma Parvam, making it Mammootty’s highest collection so far in just six days. It is to be noted that the film clashed with the release of Batman, and also Malayalam and Tamil releases such as Aashiq Abu and Tovino’s Naradhan, and Dulquer Salmaan, Aditi Rao Hydari and Kajal Aggarwal’s romcom Hey Sinamika directed by Brinda Master. Further, Alia Bhatt and Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s blockbuster Hindi film Gangubai Kathiawadi, which came out on February 25, is still going strong in the north Indian states and Maharashtra. 

But, poor reviews for Hey Sinamika and a mixed response to Naradhan meant that Bheeshma Parvam got more screens in Kerala from the evening of March 3. 

Watch: Bheeshma Parvam trailer

In the overseas market, the film came out mainly in the Gulf region and Canada. According to Forum Keralam, Bheeshma Parvam is now the second highest Malayalam grosser and has crossed Mohanlal’s Pulimurugan (2016) collections, and is just below Lucifer in the overseas market. “The movie had more footfalls (1.60 lakh) than Batman (1.49 lakh) in the UAE which is traditionally a Hollywood stronghold. In Canada, the movie had one of the best openings for a Malayalam film and is already Mammootty's highest,” the tracker told TNM.

Bheeshma Parvam will be released in other countries including the United States, Australia and New Zealand this week, and its collections are likely to increase substantially. 

A three time National Award winner, Mammootty, has given the audience several memorable films in his career spanning 50 years. In the last five years, however, there was very little of the sensitive, nuanced performer in him that we got to see. While Unda (2019) and Peranbu (2019) assured the audience that the actor within Mammootty was very much alive, films like Madhura Raja (2019) and Gaanagandharvan (2019) with their problematic scripts, or badly made dramas like 18aam Padi (2019) and Parole (2018) disappointed critics. 

“Mammootty should pick roles that justify his experience, talent and age. Stardom homages done right like Bheeshma Parvam are also fine,” says Neelima. Other than Bheeshma Parvam, Neelima picks Unda, Peranbu, Yathra (2019), One (2021), and Puthan Panam (2017) as films that satisfied her the most in Mammoottty’s filmography from the last five years.

When it comes to box office performance, however, it is Shylock (2020), The Priest (2021) and Madhura Raja that have been the most successful for Mammootty, with Madhura Raja nearly hitting the Rs 50 crore mark. Bheeshma Parvam, an unabashed star vehicle that has also managed to win rave reviews, crossed this mark in just four days, says Forum Keralam. The film is yet to complete its theatrical run in Kerala, ROI and overseas, and good word-of-mouth has ensured that additional shows are being added even outside the state. 

But does this race to become the king of the box office matter any more to stars who are in the league of Mammotty and Mohanlal? 

 "As a fan, I'm least bothered about Mammootty’s box office status now. I'm only looking forward to his fine performances. At this age, when superstars don't have anything left to prove, box office performances shouldn't matter. They should focus on doing better films,” says Neelima. 

*Forum Keralam draws its numbers from online portals like Friday Matinee that tracks BookMyShow and Ticket New’s data which covers 75% of the collections on a day, and cross-checks the figures for the rest from a few distributors for validation purposes.

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