Indian cinema's most expensive movie "Endhiran" (Robot), starring former bus conductor Rajinikanth, had a record opening weekend at the box office, Bollywood analysts said.
"In the opening weekend, all the three versions of Robot have together collected 950 million rupees (21 million dollars), the highest-ever in India," said Komal Nahta, a Bollywood trade analyst.
The sci-fi fantasy adventure, made in three languages, opened in India last Friday, with sales twice that of the previous record opener - Bollywood star Salman Khan's recent hit "Dabaang" - Nahta said.
He expects Endhiran - which cost 35 million dollars to make - to collect a further 28 million dollars from ticket sales, as reviews have been encouraging.
A month ago, Dabaang (Fearless) grossed 10.8 million dollars during its opening weekend, surpassing Aamir Khan's mega-hit "3 Idiots" record of nine million dollars.
Accurate box office figures are hard to come by in India. An independent industry website, boxofficeindia.com, said "Endhiran" had taken in 12.4 million dollars over the weekend - a far lower estimate, but still a record.
India's previous costliest film was "Kites" which starred Hrithik Roshan and was said to have been made for 27 million dollars..
Theatres are running shows of Endhiran as early as 4:00am in Rajinikanth's stronghold southern city of Chennai, where fans have been seen queuing up for tickets.
The 60-year-old superstar Rajinikanth plays a double role, of a scientist and an android, which he has created.
The robot falls in love with the scientist's girlfriend, played by former Miss World and actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
In Chennai, a 61-foot-poster was created close to a theatre where the movie was released.
Some fans washed the poster with milk - as offered to Hindu Gods - a sign of purity.
Some celebrated the release by bursting crackers, beating drums and showering the movie screen with flowers.
In Mumbai, Bollywood's hometown, fans offered prayers at a local theatre and the reel of the movie was offered in worship at a nearby temple, after which it was made available for public viewing.
"Endhiran is writing box office history," Nahta told AFP, despite steep ticket prices of up to 1,500 rupees (32 dollars) at some multiplexes.
Movie critic Nikhat Kazmi said "Endhiran" typified a mainstream Indian cinema movie and that the last 30 minutes of the film were "the 'baap' (grandmaster) of all make-believe."Reuse content