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Was Anil Sharma's Gadar a bigger hit than Baahubali: The Conclusion?

We look into the claims made by the Gadar director that his Sunny Deol-starrer was a much bigger hit than SS Rajamouli's film.

Keyur Seta

The box office success of Baahubali: The Conclusion has been phenomenal, to say the least. The film recently went past the unprecedented number of Rs1,500 crore in worldwide box office. But director Anil Sharma doesn’t consider this a great achievement. In fact, he believes that his 2001 blockbuster Gadar – Ek Prem Katha was a much bigger hit than Baahubali 2. 

During the mahurat shot of his son Utkarsh Sharma’s debut film, Genius, the Gadar director explained his stand. “There was a time when, in 2001, Gadar – Ek Prem Katha was released and had done a business of Rs265 crore, which as per today’s calculation is Rs5,000 crore,” he said.

As per his calculation, Gadar would have done a business of a whopping Rs5,000 crore if it was released today. “Gadar had done a business of Rs265 crore in 2001 when the ticket rates were Rs25 only. As per valuation, it is Rs5,000 crore today and Baahubali 2 has just reached some Rs1,500 crore, so no record has been broken.”

A trade insider tells us that there could be some truth to Sharma’s claims of the film earning Rs265 crore but to think that the film would have earned Rs5,000 crore today is simply impossible. “There can’t be two opinions that after Sholay (1975), Gadar had the highest footfalls and the highest number of ticket sales. If Mr (Anil) Sharma meant that Gadar earned Rs265 crore gross, then it may be possible. But the Rs5,000 crore calculation is just too much. If the ticket prices were as high in 2001, the film wouldn’t have received such footfalls. The prices then were just Rs25, 40 or 50,” said the source. 

The source also adds that one shouldn’t ignore the sad reality of piracy while comparing the business of the two films. “At that time, cinema was the only source of entertainment. There was no such piracy due to the internet in 2001. Today, many people are seen watching Baahubali 2 on mobile phones. This is a leakage that has eaten into the film’s revenue. Despite all this, the film has still done so well. If there was no piracy, what would have been the business of Baahubali 2? If you are placing Gadar in today’s time, then you should place Baahubali 2 in Gadar’s time. Then Baahubali 2 might have earned more than Gadar.”

He also believes that a film like Gadar isn’t possible today as Pakistan bashing isn’t appreciated any more. “In those times, anti-Pakistan films were appreciated. Films like Border and Gadar did well because the sentiments of the public were such. If anyone tries making such anti-Pak films in today’s era, it would create problems. People won’t dare now. Sunny himself won’t do such a film today,” added the source.