Entertainment Entertainment Entertainment.. I guess these are the three things which I look for when I spend 200 bucks every Friday. Fortunately, or unfortunately, many of us have developed a narrow perception about entertainment over the course of time. There has been an everlasting debate between ardent masala movie lovers and the so called pseudo intellectuals that “Entertaining films can never give you a message and vice versa”. I contradict. I believe that entertainment, in its true sense, can never go wrong. For me, an Ek Tha Tiger and a Barfi, can co-exist since both of these films provide entertainment of their own kinds.
The path breaking “Hatke” films have always existed and have been appreciated in Bollywood, but I can’t count even 10 such films which got their due at ticket window. Quite evidently, 2012 has become an exception (rather a revolution) in this context. As many as six high concept films have struck gold at box office so far. Possible reasons for this change could be: – (i) Vigilant marketing strategy (ii) Controlled budget (iii) Apt musical score backing the screenplay (iv) Expanding multiplex culture.
No points for guessing, Word of Mouth (WOM) has played an imperative part in making these films successful. To showcase the power of WOM, we’ve compared two mass entertainers (with least positive WOM among all other 100cr club films) with two offbeat films (having highest WOM among all recent high content films). Both OMG and Kahaani made only around 22-24% of their total business in opening weekend due to slow start, but it is clear how +ve WOM did wonders for these films later on. On the contrary, big budgeted films like Bodyguard and Ra One couldn’t capitalize comprehensively on their fabulous starts due to not so +ve wom and a much larger part of their total earning came in first few days only.
Let us now find out more about these off-beat films that did surprisingly well at the box office this year
Paan Singh Tomar: This real life tale of an athlete turned dacoit is one of the hardest hitting stories of recent times. With his brilliant performance, Irfan Khan doesn’t let you imagine anybody else doing a better Paan Singh even for a second. Tigmanshu Dhulia not just portrayed both the life sketches of Paan Singh very well, but he quite ably managed to develop an emotional connection between the main protagonist and his audience and that made all the difference.
Lifetime Net Box Office Collection: 15 crore | Verdict: Semi Hit
Kahaani: A thriller with no item songs, no superstar and almost no promotion. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was sceptical about the box office results of this Sujoy Ghosh directorial venture. But, it was an all different Kahaani on the Friday it released. Vidya Bagchi (and not Balan, because she never allows you to believe that she is the same girl who played Silk) made an astonishing transition from her last Blockbuster ‘The Dirty Picture’ but the outcome was nevertheless the same and she drove Kahaani to unprecedented success on her shoulders. This film also proved that in a male dominated industry, female oriented films can also make the producers run all the way to the bank – provided they have good content. The tight screenplay also played a vital role as it managed to keep its viewers on the edge of their seats throughout the film. The pre interval and climax scenes deserve a special mention.
Lifetime Net Box Office Collection: 60 crore | Verdict: Super Hit
Vicky Donor: This is arguably the most experimental film of our times. I mean, can you imagine somebody making a film on Sperm Donation and expecting decent box office returns (forget about the box office, I would always be in two minds whether it will survive the Censor Scissors in the first place)? But, Vicky Donor accepted both these challenges and came out with flying colours. Director Shoojit Sircar and writer Juhi Chaturvedi really deserve a pat on their backs for exploring an issue which is still considered taboo in most of the parts of our country. One cannot forget an all round contribution of Ayushman Khurana in the department of acting, music composition and singing. Looking at his tremendous talent, we got to say that he is here to stay in the business of film making.
Lifetime Net Box Office Collection: 43 crore | Verdict: Super Hit
Barfi! : The next to make entry in our list is India’s official entry to Oscars this year. If there is any film which can be called this year’s surprise package, it’s got to be Barfi. It has become the first unconventional bollywood flick to join 100cr elite club. Everything worked in its favour from A to Z. The producers (UTV) smartly identified their target audience initially and released the film in limited screens (1700+ only). Director Anurag Basu broke all the barriers of conventional film making and it is indeed commendable on his part to engage a wider sect of audience with a script which had limited scope for dialogues. Ranbir & Priyanka gave superlative performances in Barfi and it is arguably their best work till date. I would like to give special credit to Ranbir for the courage and believe he showed in attempting such an offbeat project, which I doubt if most of other senior stars would have taken risk for. Last, but not the least, Barfi is certainly incomplete without Pritam, for it is his poignant score which forms the soul of the film.
Lifetime Net Box Office Collection: 105-110 crore (estimated) | Verdict: Super Hit
OMG! Oh My God: It is indeed audacious to question the very fundamental rituals and believes about temple, mosque & idol worship in a nation where Religion is considered more essential than Education. And that’s exactly what forms the theme of OMG. This thought provoking film by director Umesh Shukla quite boldly puts forth all those questions and concepts about God which most of us must have had in our hearts but could never speak out. With a few scenes as exception, Bhavesh Mandalia’s screenplay mostly takes the satirical & humorous route rather than just being preachy and that’s really worked in favour of the movie. At box office, this film has just been OMG. To be specific, it’s one of those rare films in the recent past which performed exceptionally better on weekdays than weekend. In a career spanning as long as 28 years, can anyone name a bigger box office success of Paresh Rawal as lead? Well, atleast I can’t. Mr. Rawal gets to showcase his immense talent and acting experience. Akshay Kumar redefined the reflections of God in his pleasant extended guest appearance as Mod-God. Mithun Chakraborty does impresses astoundingly in his character with grey shades.
Lifetime Net Box Office Collection: 65-70 crore (estimated) | Verdict: Super Hit
English Vinglish: Gauri Shinde’s directorial debut is the latest and last film to join our list. Sridevi made an impactful comeback with this flick which dealt with language barrier and beautifully portrays the emotions within Indian housewives. It is a story about a lady and her struggle for English language. It has collected around 20cr in its first week.
Lifetime Net Box Office Collection: 30 crore+ (estimated) | Verdict: N/A (will be updated)
Pick your favourite off beat film and do share your views on the article.