Rustom vs Mohenjo Daro: Who will emerge victorious? Or will it be a draw?

The box office is set for a match between two heavyweight stars of Hindi cinema.

Keyur Seta

Sultan versus Raees was supposed to be the biggest box-office clash of 2016 until the latter was postponed to next year. So the first real clash of big stars at the ticket window will happen on 12 August when Akshay Kumar’s Rustom and Hrithik Roshan’s Mohenjo Daro are released. So, the big question on everyone’s mind is – which of the two will walk away with glory? Or will it be a drawn match? 


The first trailers of both of films were released some time back. Going by the general reaction, Rustom has an edge over Mohenjo Daro. Plus, Akshay Kumar has earned the respect of the thinking audience as well in recent years with films like Special 26 (2013), Holiday – A Soldier Is Never Off Duty (2014), Gabbar Is Back (2015), Baby (2015) and Airlift (2015). Also, Rustom marks yet another association with Neeraj Pandey (although as a producer this time) after the successful Special 26 and Baby. 

The curiosity for Ashutosh Gowariker’s movie has always been there since it was announced. Apart from the fact that Gowariker, Hrithik Roshan and AR Rahman are teaming up again for the first time after Jodhaa Akbar (2008), the reason is that there hasn’t been any film till date made on the Indus valley civilization. However, the trailers and other promotional material of the Hrithik Roshan starrer haven't received a thumbs up. Although Rahman’s music is soothing, it hasn’t created the impact he is known for. 

Trade analyst Amod Mehra feels Rustom is better placed to do well than Mohenjo Daro. He said, “The buzz for Rustom is higher than that of Mohenjo Daro. But Mohenjo Daro is expected to get more screens than Rustom. The audience will be divided since both are big films. But at the end of the day, the better film will do well. The content matters the most.” 

Could the clash have been avoided?

Gowariker seems unfazed by the competition from Rustom. Speaking about the clash, he said recently, “It’s a very common thing. We have only 52 weeks [in a year] and 400 movies. How do we divide releases when we keep dodging festivals pertaining to particular stars? I hope all films that are releasing together, including Rustom, are seen and make money. That’s the best we can right now hope for.”

While he believes the clash could not have been averted, Gowariker is also relying on history since his film, Lagaan, did very well despite being released with Gadar – Ek Prem Katha in 2001. “In terms of whether the clash could have been avoided, I don’t think so. Every week we will have some clash or the other. In my case I have been fortunate. Both [Lagaan and Gadar] worked at the same time. So I hope history repeats itself, pun intended.” 


The budget of each film also plays a big role in determining which ultimately emerges the winner in such clashes. The estimated budget of Mohenjo Daro is a whopping Rs100 crore. With such a high cost of production, it is vital for the film to do at least Rs150 crore nett business in India. Rustom, on the other hand, has been made at a cost of around Rs45 crore. On this front too, Rustom looks like a safe bet as it is expected to recover its cost in the first four or five days.

Akshay-Hrithik neck-and-neck: 

When it comes to the openings of the last three films of both stars, there isn’t much to choose between Akshay Kumar and Hrithik Roshan. The latter’s Agneepath (2012), Krrish 3 (2013) and Bang Bang (2014) earned Rs45 crore, Rs49 crore, and Rs62 crore, respectively, in the first weekend. Coming to Kumar, Singh Is Bliing (2015), Airlift (2016) and Housefull 3 (2016) amassed Rs54 crore, Rs42.50 crore and Rs52 crore, respectively. 

However, when it comes to the lifetime India collections, Hrithik Roshan has the upper hand as Agneepath, Krrish 3 and Bang Bang earned Rs119 crore, Rs175 crore and Rs141 crore, respectively. On the other hand, Kumar's Singh Is Bliing, Airlift and Housefull 3 made Rs71 crore, Rs123 crore, and Rs108 crore.

Overall scenario:

Taking all points into account, it appears that Rustom may overtake Mohenjo Daro or the match may be drawn. However, as we all know, the behaviour at the ticket window can be unpredictable. So, let’s wait for 12 August.