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Prabhas and Shraddha Kapoor in the movie. Image Credit: PTI

South Indian superstar Prabhas’ magnum opus ‘Saaho’, reportedly made on a staggering Rs3.5 billion (Dh179.2 million) budget, has released with a bang at the global box office.

Filmed simultaneously in Hindi, Telugu and Tamil and shot extensively in Abu Dhabi, the action film has grossed more than Rs1.04 billion in India bringing its first day nett collections on Friday to around Rs680 million, according to India Today. That’s more than the current record holder, Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Endgame’, which opened with Rs530 million.

Even in the UAE, the film saw almost 100,000 admissions on the first day on Friday, according to distributors, despite films traditionally releasing on Thursday. That number eclipses the current box office No 1, ‘Angel Has Fallen’, which saw 31,000 admissions over the first weekend (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) last week. The Friday admission number is a record in the UAE, one distributor tells Gulf News tabloid!., besting the record held by 'Avengers: Endgame', which saw 92,000 admissions on its first day. 

Also starring Shraddha Kapoor, ‘Saaho’ cements Prabhas’ immense box office draw. The Telugu star became an international sensation after his ‘Baahubali’ films broke global box office records. ‘Baahubali 2: The Conclusion’, the second part of the fantasy epic, made more than Rs17.96 billion in 2017.

Prabhas plays an undercover agent in ‘Saaho’ who, along with a no-nonsense cop played by Kapoor, sets out to investigate the perpetrators behind a Rs2 billion heist in Mumbai. But the pair soon discover a much more sinister plot to annihilate the entire city.

However, critics have not been kind to the film. Gulf News tabloid! called it a slick but ultimately soulless film, with no coherent story.

India Today noted that despite its potential and eager cast, especially lead Prabhas, the film fails to deliver. The high-octane action sequences are the saving grace of the film, it added.

Hollywood stunt director Kenny Bates, whose credits include ‘Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol’ and ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ was hired to choreograph the action scenes.

Speaking ahead of the film’s release, Prabhas said the records set by the two ‘Baahubali’ films could be broken any day.

“That record is going to change any Friday,” he told news agency PTI. “The record is just a start, not the end. Some filmmaker from Gujarat or West Bengal can make a film which will beat everything we have. A Kannada film ‘KGF’ came and did good business too.”