By Arun Kumar
Washington, Feb 15 (IANS) Grossing an estimated $1.86 million at the box office in its first weekend, Shah Rukh Khan starrer "My Name Is Khan" has broken the record for the largest opening weekend ever for a Hindi film in North America.
The Fox Searchlight release directed by Karan Johar averaged $15,500 from 120 theatres across the United States and Canada over Feb 12-14 weekend. The previous record was held by Shah Rukh's musical extravaganza "Om Shanti Om" which grossed $1.76 million from 114 theatres when it was released over the Diwali holiday weekend in 2007.
"My Name Is Khan" opened Friday with $444,000, rose 65 percent to $734,000 Saturday, and is estimated to dip 7 percent to $682,000 on Sunday, Valentine's Day.
Monday's Presidents' Day holiday in the US will lead to a four-day debut of more than $2 million. MNIK also generated the highest per-theatre average of any film in the Top 20 over the weekend.
Meanwhile "My Name Is Khan" is getting good reviews from US critics with variety.com saying "This riotously overstuffed and enormously enjoyable drama races forward with incredible drive."
Trade publication Hollywood Reporter in a review from Berlin said, "It's well worth the 162-minute journey" noting "Shah Rukh Khan comes to America (although in a Bollywood film) and shows why he is an Indian mega-star."
"The thing about some Bollywood superstars is that they are actually fine actors as well as charismatic performers. So it's not surprising in 'My Name Is Khan' to see Bollywood mega-star Shah Rukh Khan - he's light-years beyond a mere superstar in Hindi cinema's cosmology - challenge himself to expand his acting range and possibly his international fan base."
"This is a movie not built for subtlety, but it does tackle a subject American movies have mostly avoided - that of racial profiling and the plight of Muslim-Americans. It also allows Shah Rukh Khan to display his talent to an even wider audience," it says.
The Los Angeles Times called it "a sweeping epic in the melodramatic Bollywood manner yet emerges as a potent, engaging and timely entertainment." MNIK "is a potent, energetic heart-tugger and Khan and Kajol, major Bollywood stars, are highly appealing and equal to the demand of their emotion-charged roles."
"At its best 'My Name Is Khan,' set mainly in America, is an affecting fairy tale about the perils of goodness," said the New York Times.
"'Khan' is one of a handful of Hindi films ("New York," "Kurbaan") about Indians living in a paranoid, post-9/11 America, and there's something fascinating about looking at this country through a Bollywood lens, even when the story is a kind of fairy tale."
"Skillfully directed by Karan Johar and with an evocative score by Shankar, Ehsaan & Loy, 'Khan' jerks tears with ease, while teaching lessons about Islam and tolerance," the Times said.