Today (June 15th) will be tenth anniversary of the release of Gadar Ek Prem Katha which was a box office phenomena and probably sold more tickets at the theatres in India than any film in history apart from Sholay (1975). This was mainly due to the unparalleled business it gathered from B and C centres across India. The reactions by the public at the theatres where the film was playing had not been seen before and also have not been seen since.
The film sold around 4 crore tickets at theatres in its run while films like Three Idiots and Dabangg are around 2.5 crore. Thats 60% more and these films are also amongst the biggest hits of all time.In Mumbai city which forms a big segment of all India business the film grossed around 7 crore nett as compared to the 12 crore nett of the highest grosser of that time Hum Aapke Hain Kaun but this 5 crore shortfall and more was made up from B and C centres where tickets were priced much lower than Mumbai city.
Gadar Ek Prem Katha released on 15th June 2001 left the trade stunned. There had been mega blockbusters just a few years back like Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge but these were small releases and prints increased gradually but with Gadar it was a full blown release of 350 prints and never had anybody seen collections remain this high for such a big release.
The first week opened to around all India 7.25 crore nett collections without West Bengal where the film was not released. The film had a massive release but prints had to be added in week two due to demand and with West Bengal seeing a release the collections went up to 8.25 crore nett. The third week was 7.50 crore nett. In its tenth week it was still bringing in around 2.50 crore nett with most of its prints still in play. Never had a film with such a big release held up this strongly.
In its 10th week the film had a billing of 75 lakhs nett in Delhi/UP and this was higher than what most films did in their second week at that time. In fact a hit film which was released alongside, Lagaan had that 75 lakhs nett billing in the third week of its run. At many centres, it still holds lifetime theatre records ten years after release.
Even today, Gadar finds it's way to a theatre a for re-run at some theatre every month. It's a favourite with exhibitors in UP, Bihar, MP and Rajasthan who mainly do re-runs at their theatres. The other major hits released in that period like Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai, Mohabbatein, Lagaan and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham hardly ever get a repeat run probably because they do not have the same repeat value for the masses.