As Rani (Kangana Ranaut) in Vikas Bahl’s Queen, went on the path of selfdiscovery in an unknown corner of Paris, guzzled a few bottles of beer, the audience regaled. As she achieved her sense of liberation, Rani was applauded with claps and whistles by a whole lot of multiplex audience. Most audience self-admittedly dragged themselves to the theatres after hearing the appreciative comments about the film. The small-budget film, with Kangana, as Rajouri Garden girl in an unglamorous kurti and jeans, minus any big star and any glitzy item number, emerged as a surprise winner at the box office. Made on a small budget of Rs.12.5 crores, the film earned Rs.80.70 crores and is still going strong.
The success of the film was also the victory of audience who celebrated good content in cinema. Small films with honest- to-goodness content are making a mark. Unlike big films, which spends big bucks on massive marketing and publicity, the small-budget films survive solely on word-of-mouth publicity. “This can be clearly called the triumph of content as the audience refused to fall for publicity gimmicks. The smallbudget films rely solely on refreshingly real content which ultimately help them
Gadar Ek Prem Katha, which did better in the second week. Due to moderate publicity of the film, the opening week of Queen did not get any dramatic response, but, the business picked up in the second week as it was widely applauded. Rajat Kapoor’s Ankhon Dekhi starring comedian Sanjay Mishra is another case in point. The smallbudget film was released in a few screens, but the number of screens was increased in the second week, owing to the audience response. “A section of filmgoers take their time and throng at the theatres only after measuring the response,” adds Adarsh. Anand Gandhi’s Ship of Theseus received similar response as the audience slowly woke up to it.
Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox, gathered awards and accolades at various film festivals. It was released at a modest level in India but audience response led to its expansion in the theatres. In the past, several memorable films received a slow appreciation. GP Sippy’s Sholay was initially declared a flop but gained momentum in the second week. Rajshree productions Vivah, failed to create an impact initially but it went to become a super hit in subsequent weeks. Kamal Amrohi’s cult Pakeezah, which had Meena Kumari’s final performance, was declared a dud but gained momentum soon after the death of the actress.
Rajat Kapoor’s film about an old man (Sanjay Mishra) and his funny experiences was a small film which was widely applauded by critics and audience’s alike. The film was released in a few screens, but, looking at the audience response it was allotted a few more shows by prominent multiplexes. Despite minimal promotions, the footfall in the theatres increased gradually as people loved the honest content.
Vikas Bahl’s directorial film about a simple girl from Rajouri Garden in search of herself after being mercilessly dumped by her fiance just a day before their wedding, emerged as a surprise winner. Due to moderate publicity, it failed to get a dramatic opening. Its box office collection spiked to Rs.21.20 crores in the second week, all because of appreciations pouring in from all corners. Amitabh Bachchan sent flowers to applaud Kangana, Aamir Khan profusely appreciated the film in his tweets while Shah Rukh Khan, who plays a Delhi boy is his next film, liked Queen so much that he plans to take tips from Kangana. In its fourth week, the film is still going strong as it is running housefull in smaller cities.