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Survival films are a rarity in Indian cinema so director Vikramaditya Motwane’s Trapped is rarer still, if not unique, featuring Rajkummar Rao as the sole protagonist.
Rao plays a guy who gets stuck in a high-rise Mumbai apartment with no food, phone, water or electricity, with only a rat, a cockroach, ants and pigeons for company.
Reliance Entertainment is launching the thriller on close to 300 screens in India on March 17, with a platform release initially covering 40-50 screens overseas. Zee TV bought the satellite and music rights. Unusually, exhibitors in India have agreed to run the film without an interval to maintain the suspense.
The Phantom Films production was widely acclaimed after its world premiere at the Mumbai Film Festival last year, suggesting bright commercial prospects. "The film has found appreciation in the festival circuits and it will be interesting to see whether this turns into a commercial outing as well," Bollywood Hungama analyst Joginder Tuteja told me.
"The challenge will be to hold audience attention since it is set at a single location with only one protagonist. As long as it manages to do that, it could work with the niche audience."
Analyst Ayyappa Kumar, who blogs at PrettyGoodBloggers, said the film has generated a good buzz since it screened at the festival and as the only the only notable Hindi release this weekend it should do well.
Hindi romantic comedy Badrinath Ki Dulhania is sure to reign in its second weekend despite the launches of Disney’s live action adaptation of animated hit Beauty and the Beast and a raft of regional releases including Tamil comedies Kattapava Kaanom and Bruce Lee and Punjabi relationships drama Jindua.
Starring Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Sahil Vaid, Yash Sinha and Shweta Basu Prasad, director Shashank Khaitan’s Badrinath Ki Dulhania scored 62.28 crore ($9.3 million) in its first five days on 3,000 screens in India and $1.04 million on 152 in the U.S. By the end of the week the Fox Star Studios release will surpass Dear Zindagi and Student of The Year to rank as the fourth highest earner of Bhatt’s career.