Bollywood's 'Dabangg' has record-breaking opening

The first big release of Bollywood's peak season, Dabangg, starring Salman Khan, has smashed box office records in India and is also having an impressive run overseas.

Dabangg (which translates literally as 'Fearless') grossed 480 million rupees ($10.4 million) on its opening weekend in India (September 10-12), breaking the previous record set by 3 Idiots starring Aamir Khan.

Box office from international markets including the US, the UK and the Middle East is an estimated $2.7 million. Big Bollywood films tend to open worldwide day-and-date with their Indian release as a way to combat rampant piracy.

Khan stars as a corrupt cop who breaks all the rules in the film, which is produced by and also stars his brother Arbaaz Khan.

A typical "masala" movie with song-and-dance numbers and over-the-top action and dialogues, the film is not going to win any awards, but Khan's star power and clever promotion has helped it become a huge hit.

The producers released the film to coincide with the Muslim festival of Eid as Khan is a massive star in the Middle East as well as in India. It grossed one million dirhams ($272,210 dollars) over the weekend in Dubai.

In the UK, the film entered the box office chart in 12th position with a gross of £332,673 pounds ($514,178) - which is a strong opening for a foreign-language movie.

Local critics say the film's retro feel is also striking a chord with audiences after a few years in which Bollywood has been experimenting with different genres, to mixed results.

The next big Bollywood release is Anjaana Anjaani, a romantic comedy starring Priyanka Chopra and Bollywood's hottest newcomer Ranbir Kapoor, which Eros International will release on September 24.