Back in year 2000, 30th June was the date that marked the arrival of Abhishek Bachchan and Kareena Kapoor in Bollywood. It was a big day indeed, considering the Bachchan and Kapoor scion were seeing a high profile launch with Border director J.P. Dutta calling the shots. Considering the fact that both Abhishek and Kareena had decided to step into Refugee with due deliberation, all eyes were on how the upcoming stars would shine the brightest on their arrival.
Well, they shone, and how (at least on the opening day), what with Refugee not just taking a huge start but also the best ever in the history of Bollywood.
That’s right, this one may fall under the bracket of ‘Believe It Or Not’, but Refugee had actually broken all existing records and took a massive opening of 1.55 crores on Friday, a massive number back then. Before that, in 1999, Ajay Devgn led Hindustan Ki Kasam had set the screens on fire with a start of 1.45 crores. However, Refugee topped even that by 10 lakhs and came up trumps.
Incidentally, both films featured a Bachchan. While Amitabh Bachchan featured in a prominent part in Hindustan Ki Kasam, Abhishek Bachchan led from the front in Refugee. In fact later in the year, Amitabh Bachchan also towered above many in Mohabbatein which was led by Shah Rukh Khan and took a huge start of 1.20 crores. Also, though Aishwarya Rai was not a part of the Bachchan family back then, she had a major role to play in the success of Mohabbatein. She again came together with Shah Rukh Khan in Josh which took an even bigger start of 1.25 crores.
No wonder, it was pretty much a Bachchan year, if one goes down the archive for year 2000.
As a matter of fact Refugee could well have held on to the record of being the top opener of the year but then Mission Kashmir came on Diwali and ended up netting a massive 1.65 crores despite the clash with Mohabbatein. The man who made it possible? Hrithik Roshan, whose Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai, after taking one third the start of Refugee, went on to be an all time blockbuster.
Coming to Refugee, the film opened huge but couldn’t maintain a similar trajectory. It did end up gaining a healthy lifetime total of 17 crores, but then its huge budget (back then) of 15 crores meant that it had to settle down as an average affair. Still, ultimately it ended up finding itself amongst the Top-10 grossers of 2000, not a bad feat for a film starring two newcomers.