'Audiences today are too smart to make that effort to go to a theatre to see a film just to see somebody's son.'
Proud father Suniel Shetty cannot stop marveling at son Ahan's debut in Milan Luthria's Tadap.
"The opening surprised all of us. Of course, as a father, I was hopeful that my son's film would get an opening. But the numbers surpassed all our expectations. The opening is surprising for a film starring a newcomer. The messages and calls have not stopped since Tadap opened on Friday," he tells Subhash K Jha.
Tadap opened with more than Rs 4 crore (Rs 40 million) on Day 1, second only to Sooryavanshi in the post-COVID phase.
Is it because of the goodwill that audiences have for him?
"Of course, the fact that Ahan is my son has encouraged audiences to go and see Tadap. But to get such numbers during these hard times is not easy. More than me, it's the content. I think audiences today are too smart to make that effort to go to a theatre to see a film just to see somebody's son," he replies.
So what according to Suniel was the deciding factor for the audience to see Tadap?
"The script, the content. We knew we were going with an unusual plotline for Ahan's debut, and it paid off. Plus, of course, the songs were popular from before the film's release."
Ahan seems to be far more confident and skilled in his first film than Suniel was in his debut film Balwaan, which released in 1992.
The proud father responds, "Ahan is 25 times better in Tadap than I was in Balwaan. When I came into films, I knew nothing about camera angles, cues and dialogue delivery. Ahan has come prepared."
Meanwhile, the box office numbers got better over the weekend.
"Various factors contributed to the wonderful opening of Tadap," explains trade guru Taran Adarsh. "First and foremost, the fresh lead pair. Secondly, the energetic soundtrack, which boasts of some lilting melodies. Thirdly, a love story has its advantages as the youth audience gets attracted to it instantly. Fourthly, very good pre-release promotions added to the appeal."
"Besides," adds Adarsh, "Tadap is a remake of the Telugu film RX 100, which was very well made with interesting twists and turns. Those who have watched RX 100 would draw comparisons but those who haven't, will find the twists and turns extremely interesting."
"Tadap has opened to truly encouraging figures. The first day's collection is more than Rs 4 crore. I think it's incredible for a film with newcomers," says Maharashtra exhibitor Akshay Rathi. "Full credit to Producers Sajid Nadiadwala and Fox Star studios, Ahan Shetty and Tara Sutaria for their phenomenal work and to Director Milan Luthria for launching a newcomer with such style with a semi-newcomer."
"More than anything," Rathi adds, "it is Suniel Shetty's goodwill which has worked in the film's favour. His popularity in A, B and C centres has ensured that people came in to see what his son is doing in Tadap."
"Despite the fact that it released in lesser screens," points out trade analyst Atul Mohan, "the film got a good opening for a newcomer."
"Tadap from its 1,600+ screens across the country managed to get a decent start for a newcomer," observes Producer Girish Johar. "The the audience feedback is decent. Ahan is very promising and Tara is also building her fan following. Hope it capitalises over the solo weekend at the box office."