Rajinikanth‘s Lal Salaam, directed by his daughter Aishwarya Rajinikanth, was released in cinema halls on February 9. The Tamil-language sports drama tackles themes of caste oppression and religious discrimination, and opened to mixed reviews. The film had a comparatively smaller opening at the box office as far as the superstar’s films are concerned, but it should be pointed out that Rajinikanth is merely appearing in an extended cameo in Lal Salaam. The film minted Rs 4.30 crore nett on it’s day of release, according to industry tracker Sacnilk.
While this could be the smallest opening for a film starring Rajinikanth, footfalls are expected to increase over the weekend. Lal Salaam stars Vishnu Vishal and Vikranth in the lead roles, while Rajinikanth is seen in an extended cameo as Moideen Bhai. Lal Salaam witnessed an overall 30.35 percent Tamil occupancy on Friday with 38.5 percent in Chennai and 24 percent in Bengaluru. The highest occupancy was seen in Puducherry, with 39.25 percent.
In his review of the film, indianexpress.com’s Kirubhakar Purushothaman stated that despite noble themes and Rajinikanth’s presence, the film falls short of excellence. Giving the movie two and a half star rating, he wrote, “It is rather bold and noble of Aishwarya Rajinikanth to make Lal Salaam as it has all the potential to rake up controversies given the sensitive subject and the current political climate. Thiru’s all-Hindu team is called India, and Samsu’s all-Muslim team is called Pakistan. And they fight. There’s no subtlety here.”
With Lal Salaam, Aishwarya Rajinikanth returned to the director’s chair after a seven-year hiatus. Rajinikanth last starred in the blockbuster hit Jailer, which ranks among his highest-grossing films. By comparison, Jailer earned nearly Rs 50 crore on day one. He will next be seen in Vettaiyan, directed by TJ Gnanavel, and the yet-to-be-titled Thalaivar 171, directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj.