It’s after three years that filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker is presenting the audience of Hindi cinema a big-screen spectacle in Panipat. The film, based on a significant historical event, is backed by an ensemble cast of Arjun Kapoor, Kriti Sanon, Sanjay Dutt, Zeenat Aman, Padmini Kolhapure and Mohnish Bahl among others. The scale, grandeur, songs and trailer of the movie are all working in favour of the period drama, and if all goes well, Panipat will have an opening of around Rs 5.5-6 crore.

Film trade analyst Girish Johar said, “The story of Panipat is taken from history and Ashutosh Gowariker is one of the most credible names of Indian cinema. He loves depicting big historical events. The film is made on a large scale. It has an ensemble cast of Arjun Kapoor, Kriti Sanon, Sanjay Dutt, Zeenat Aman, Padmini Kolhapure, Mohnish Bahl, and everyone has their respective fan following. From the trailer and songs, it looks pretty exciting.”

But the story and length of the period drama might restrict its audience. Johar said, “Panipat might have a limited audience since it has a historical story at its centre. Also, it has a longer duration and when a film has a duration of above 3 hours, you get lesser number of screens. But it has been proven in the past that if the content of the film is good, the duration doesn’t matter. So, I will peg the film at Rs 5.5-6 crore.”

In the recent past, historical dramas have been working well with the audience. Akshay Kumar’s Kesari and Kangana Ranaut’s Manikarnika have found a place in the top earners of 2019. Talking about the formula of winning over the ticket counters with a historical drama, Girish Johar shared, “The only double acid test these historical dramas have is that they have to be authentic. We can’t have the same over the board cinematic liberty which we take in a Hindi masala film. It’s a very rigid framework for telling historicals but if you master it, which Ashutosh Gowariker has done, you have a long way at the box office.”

Along with Panipat, Kartik Aaryan, Bhumi Pednekar and Ananya Panday starrer Pati Patni Aur Woh releases this Friday. Asked if both the films will impact each other’s box office collection, Johar said, “We should not compare Panipat and Patni Aur Woh because both the films have different genres, different target audience and different costing.”

Now if Panipat will be able to erase the memory of Ashutosh Gowariker’s 2016 release Mohenjo Daro from the mind of movie buffs remains to be seen.

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