One of the most anticipated and biggest budget Indian films of the past year - the war movie L.O.C Kargil - opened to reasonable returns in its home territory on Dec 26.

Set against the backdrop of the Indo Pakistan war in 1999, the four hour long feature directed by J. P. Dutta stars about 40 top Bollywood names including Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgan, Manoj Bajpai, Saif Ali Khan, Abhishek Bachchan and Akshaye Khanna.

The film, which cost $3.3m to make, took approximately $2.2m in its first week from 315 screens. By comparison, recent hit Kal Ho Na Ho earned $2.3m in its first week in November.

L.O.C. (which stands for Line Of Control) Kargil's unusual running time of four hours forced many exhibitors to reduce the frequency of shows per day from four to three.

Director J.P. Dutta told, that it was impossible to cover the entire spectrum of the Kargil war within four hours. "In fact I was short of about one and a half hours to cover the deeds of the other five battalions. I could portray the bravery of only five of the ten battalions which fought 'Operation Vijay' in 1999."

The film features many firsts for a Hindi film, including the use of a 55 strong camera crew, 1000 army extras and 15,00,000 feet of exposed film. The uniform of each and every cast member was researched and all the actors were given Army style haircuts before the shoot.

Actor Sanjay Dutt told, "It is probably the 'biggest' movie anyone has attempted to make, and the hardest to mount, for a number of reasons including the costs and getting commitments from the stars. But when you look at the movie, the vision is enormous. It's bigger than most things that one has seen on Hindi films. Its epic sweep reminds you of the 1940s, of Sohrab Modi, Mehboob Khan or even David Lean. It's an amazing piece of film-making."

The Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani and other Cabinet members watched the film at a special screening.