Alia Bhatt-starrer Raazi has reportedly earned Rs 33 crore in its opening weekend, according to industry sources, exceeding the collections of other women-centric films released over the past few years. With estimated landing costs of Rs 37 crores, heavy pre-release promotions, a soft nationalist theme and largely positive reviews, Meghna Guzar’s espionage thriller is expected to be among the big hits in Bhatt’s six-year-old career.

Co-produced by Junglee Pictures and Dharma Productions, Raazi was released in approximately 1,250 theatres on May 11. Adapted from Harinder S Sikka’s novel Calling Sehmat, Raazi is about a young Kashmiri woman who marries a Pakistani military officer to gather intelligence before the 1971 Indo-Pak war. The movie, written by Gulzar and Bhavani Iyer, also stars Vicky Kaushal, Rajit Kapur and Jaideep Ahlawat, but is a Bhatt show all the way.

The overall Friday-Sunday earnings of Tanu Weds Manu Returns, starring Kangana Ranut in a double role, exceed those of Raazi. Aanand L Rai’s sequel to the 2011 hit Tanu Weds Manu earned Rs 38 crores, and was released in 1,498 theatres.

Ae Watan, Raazi (2018).

Industry sources pointed out that Raazi’s opening weekend business exceeds those of other movies with women in lead roles, notably Hichki, starring Rani Mukerji (Rs 15.35 crore, 700 theatres), Naam Shabana, starring Taapsee Pannu (Rs 17.75 crores, 1,600 theatres), Mardaani, again starring Mukerji (Rs. 14 crore; 1,064 theatres), Queen, starring Kangana Ranaut (Rs 9.68 crore, 883 screens), Mom, starring Sridevi (Rs 14.25 crore, 1,350 screens), and Pari, starring Anushka Sharma (Rs. 13.5 crore, 1,150 screens).

Gauri Shinde’s Dear Zindagi (2016), which has Bhatt in the lead role, made Rs 32.5 crore from 620 theatres.

The estimated opening weekend takings for four productions featuring Vidya Balan, who is one of the few Bollywood stars to work in female-centric films, are as follows: Tumhari Sulu (Rs 12.12 crores, 1,100 screens), Kahaani (Rs 14.5 crores; 1,026 theatres) and Begum Jaan (Rs 10.50 crore, 620 theatres).

Lipstick under My Burkha, directed by a woman (Alankrita Shrivastava) and revolving around female characters, mopped up an estimated Rs 5.20 crore across 500 theatres.

Raazi has also reportedly crossed the Friday-Monday earnings of Varun Dhawan-starrers Badlapur (Rs. 23.5 crore) and October (Rs 19 crore). The movie’s opening weekend collections are comparable to those of 2 States (Rs 37 crore, 1,380 theatres), which starred Bhatt and Arjun Kapoor, and the Ranveer Singh-Vaani Kapoor romcom Befikre (Rs 34.50 crore, 1,183 theatres), industry sources added.