Kolkata, May 26 (PTI) After a lull of two years due to the pandemic, audiences are back at the theatres in West Bengal as two Bengali films -- Anik Dutta's 'Aparajito' and Soumitra Chatterjee-starred 'Bela Shuru' -- registered record box office collections.
'Aparajito', which retraces Satyajit Ray's journey during the making of cult 'Pather Panchali' in the early '50, garnered around Rs 2.50 crore at the box office after its release on May 13, industry sources said.
'Belashuru', directed by Shiboprosad Mukherjee and Nandita Roy, collected Rs 1.40 crore over the last weekend after its release on May 20, they said.
Many of the 65 theatres where 'Aparajito' is being screened are houseful even on weekdays, its producer Firdausal Hasan told PTI.
"In the 17 theatres outside West Bengal where the film was released a week back, there has been a good response," he said.
Director Dutta said the film has touched the hearts of Bengali audiences who are nostalgic about Satyajit Ray and 'Pather Panchali'.
"I can see the same kind of turnout just like Bhooter Bhobishyot," he said.
'Belashuru', which dwells on the relationship of an elderly couple (played by Soumitra Chatterjee and Swatilekha Sengupta), was released in 105 theatres, said a spokesperson of Windows Production, the maker of the film.
The film has created a record of sorts as both the lead actors -- Soumitra and Swatilekha have passed away.
"The film has recorded a blockbuster opening across West Bengal. The evening and night shows are housefuls everywhere, including state-run Nandan," the spokesperson said.
"Belashuru, which comes seven years after 'Belaseshe', is now set to be released across India," she said.
Director Shiboprosad Mukherjee said the film is working well in both single screens and multiplexes. "The premiere was held at Bijoli and the response was phenomenal."
Film distributor Bablu Damani said 'Belashuru' recorded 90 per cent occupancy in both single-screens and multiplexes.
Satadip Saha, one of the major distributors of films in the region who also owns a multiplex, said that in many multiplexes the two Bengali films performed better than the Hindi releases.
"The word of mouth publicity again reaffirms that if the content is good, audiences will come to the halls," he said.
"Aparajito has turned out to be one of the biggest Bengali releases in the last few years, while Belashuru has also got a very good response," he said.
Several Bengali films are lined up in the coming weeks, including Prosenjit Chatterjee-starred 'Aay Khuku Aay' and 'Tirandaj Shabar'.
"We have to see the releases don't bump into each other. There should be enough space for every film for the interest of the Bengali entertainment industry," Saha said. PTI SUS