It’s sex against religion this week at the box office. Sunny Leone whose journey into Bollywood is now the fodder for an international documentary would be seen playing the title role in Ek Paheli Leela this week. While her film has the oomph factor, she has performing stalwarts like Naseeruddin Shah, Paresh Rawal and Anu Kapoor to contend with.
The heavyweight trio gets all set this Friday for Dharam Sankat Mein, an Indian version of Josh Appiganesi’s The Infidel, based on the touchy topic of religious conversion.
Considering how successful Raj Kumar Hirani was at taking potshots at organized religion, Dharam Sankat Mein is expected to tickle plenty of funny bones this Friday.
On the other hand, Ms. Leone aims to tickle more than just the funny bone. This is the phase of the female hero. Kangna Ranaut in Queen and Anushka Sharma in NH10 have dazzled audiences while taking cent restage.
Will Leone work her leonine magic around the box office? The film takes the actress into two roles in two lifetimes. The last film on reincarnation that did well was Rakesh Roshan’s Karan Arjun.
Trade experts say Leela would get an impressive opinion. Exhibitor-distributor Anil Thadani opines, “So far Sunny Leone has always pulled in the crowds. She has a hundred percent track record.”
Trade analyst Atul Mohan seconds that opinion. “Sunny Leone has created a fan-base for herself and Leela should get a good opening. On the other hand Dharam Sankat Mein should also get a good opening due to Paresh Rawal who has successfully created a brand for himself. His name is synonymous with substantial cinema.”
Atul further adds, “Both the films have their own individual appeal. I feel Leela will score among the masses while Dharam Sankat Main would have an edge with multiplex audiences.”
Anand Vishal, Head of Operations Fun Cinemas, feels Leela has an edge at the box office. “As it is more massy, Leela will perform better than Dharam Sankat Mein. Tier 2 and Tier 3 sectors invariably take to such content.”