MUMBAI - Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan's big budget Diwali offering "Ra.One" received mixed reviews on Thursday, with praise for its special effects but criticism of its script.
Early industry estimates also suggested that the film, which at US$20 million (S$25 million) is one of the most expensive Indian films ever made, failed to break first-day records after it was released on Wednesday.
Boxofficeindia.com, which tracks cinema takings, said the Hindi version of the science fiction superhero movie took 140 million to 150 million rupees (S$3.6 million to $3.8 million) in its first 24 hours.
"It may turn out to be the second or third highest first day ever but around 30 per cent less than the record of 'Bodyguard' which was released two months back," it added.
Khan has been aggressively marketing the film for months, and in a punishing final pre-release push this week the Bollywood star attended international premieres in Dubai, London and Toronto.
Indian critics hailed the movie, in which the 45-year-old actor plays G.One, who fights the evil Ra.One to save humanity, for its slick production values.
Trade analyst Taran Adarsh described the film on bollywoodhungama.com as "the new yardstick for measuring success" in Bollywood, awarding it 4.5 out of five stars.
Other critics agreed that the special effects and action sequences were stunning.
But a number said the script was dull, with an over-emphasis on computer jargon. The Times of India's reviewer took issue with its vulgar dialogue and jokes.
Critic Komal Nahta on the koimoi.com film site gave the movie 3.5 out of five stars.
"On the whole, 'Ra.One' has the novelty factor and visual effects as its greatest plus points," he said.
"It may be lagging in the other departments but these two - novelty and visual effects - will definitely see the high-budgeted film make profits for all concerned."
Filmfare said the film was a must-see and demonstrated that Bollywood can now match Hollywood when it comes to action and sci-fi.
"It's not very polished but it's more than acceptable," the influential magazine's review read. "In fact, had the storytelling been stronger, 'Ra.One' could've been a classic."