'Akbar' earns $30m in 31 days

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NEW DELHI – "Jodhaa Akbar," the controversial Indian historical epic, has earned $30 million (Rupees 1.2 billion) in its first 31 days of release, Mumbai-based UTV Motion Pictures said Wednesday about the picture made for $10 million.

Released on 1,500 screens worldwide, the film's Indian box office receipts hit $22.5 million (Rs. 900 million). The balance came from 25 countries and included ticket sales from versions dubbed into Dutch and Arabic.

With few films scoring well at the box office so far in 2008, "Akbar" is seen as this year’s success story.

Directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, whose 2001 film "Lagaan" (Land Tax) was India’s Oscar nominee for best foreign film, "Akbar" is based on 16th century Mughal Emperor Akbar (Hrithik Roshan) and his Hindu Rajput wife Jodhaa (Aishwarya Rai).

The film has been in the thick of controversy since release when a section of the Rajput community in the western state of Rajasthan protested the film’s historical accuracy. The film was not released in Rajasthan and other Indian states banned it until a Supreme Court ruling forced the bans to be lifted (HR 3/14). "Akbar" still has not opened in Rajasthan.

"The film is an epic not merely by virtue of the timeless story it tells, but also because of the tremendous tribulations its creation entailed," UTVMP director Siddharth Roy Kapur said.
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