With the ongoing debate on how only the Bollywood ‘mafia’ shunned the real talent and didn’t accept performances, we shouldn’t be ignoring the fact that power lies in our hands as the audience. The box office can be a ruthless place and flops aren’t just reserved for bad films with poor reviews. The competition is cut-throat and it’s the audience that decides who works for them and who doesn’t.
Here’s a list of the movies from the last 3 years that the audience rejected but rather should have celebrated them because of their rich content:
Sushant Singh Rajput and Bhumi Pednekar in rustic and rugged avatars could not bring the audience to the theatres as Sonchiriya failed to impress the viewers. The film earned no more than around ₹8 crores at the box-office. Directed by Abhishek Chaubey, the film was about the dacoits of Chambal. Even after so much blood and sweat that was invested in making the film, the audience didn’t have the nerve to appreciate it.
Another highly acclaimed film that failed at the box office was Photograph. As the name of the movie it all starts with a simple photograph. The charm of this film, which may take some getting used to for those accustomed to spell-it-out storytelling, is that it takes place in those quieter liminal moments, and it is just right for this story’s delicacy. So are the exquisitely framed shots and the loving portrayal of the city of Mumbai.
Directed by Ritesh Batra, the movie stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Sanya Malhotra in the lead roles. The film only grossed ₹5.74 crores at the box office.
3- Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota
Directed by Vasan Bala, Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota stars Abhimanyu Dasani along with Gulshan Deviah, Mahesh Manjrekar and Radhika Madan in pivotal roles. Grossing only ₹3 crores out of the budget of 17 crores, the film flopped at the box office. However, the film was very well received by critics. It is a story of a young boy Surya who has a rare condition of Congenital Insensitivity to pain meaning he can not feel pain, and he sets out to learn martial arts and hunt down muggers.
Unfortunately ununderstood unadulterated portrayal of unrequited love. October was the most mesmerizing cinematic experience with a mild fragrant morning breeze that arrives to refresh your senses. October restores your faith in the beauty that cinema is capable of encapsulating. It is aesthetically charming, auditorily soothing, and calming to the mind. October deserves but love which remained unrequited in its selfless marrow.
Earning ₹54 crores, October is filled with subtle forms of expression, and it’s a delight to watch.
5- Laila Majnu
The world behind that hill, our story is already written, the process of waiting for Laila – this is all only Imtiaz Ali can serve justice too. Set in the heavenly land of Kashmir, the movie revolves around Laila (Tripti Dimri) and Qais (Avinash Tiwari), who belong to two rival families. Qais falls in love with Laila at first sight and Laila falls for him too. The rest is the story of separation, longing, love, and destiny.
The music combined with some key moments of the film are just bound to give you goosebumps or even evoke a tear or two. It is a hopelessly romantic film made with sheer love. Highly recommended for the hopeless romantics. It earned ₹2.76 crores.
Directed by Anubhav Sinha, the movie explores the struggles of a Muslim family from Varanasi, after one of its members joins a terrorist organization. It’s dark, gritty, disturbing, intriguing but most importantly entertaining. It earned ₹30 crores.
Nandita Das’ biographical account of revolutionary Urdu writer-playwright of pre-partition India Saadat Hasan Manto reflects his perceptions and emotions through a cinematic anthology of his works which runs parallel to the central narrative reflecting his life. The portrayal of the troubled and controversial writer is haunting, but what shines in the movie is the support he received from his wife, and the sacrifices she made for him.
Not many people went to watch it in the theaters and it earned ₹4.31 crores.
This film is a surprise in all regards. Vishal Bhardwaj’s Pataakha masquerades a comedy-drama structure to hide a burlesque on the Indo-Pak relations in its hood through the symbolic characters it paints in Badki (Radhika Madan) and Chhutki (Sanya Malhotra). Add to that Sunil Grover and Vijay Raaz’s performances and some gritty, realistic storytelling, and you practically have a perfect movie in your hands… which nobody saw. Pataakha deserved much more than it received, both critically and commercially. It earned ₹11.06 crores.
This road trip black comedy film starring Malayalam superstar Dulquer Salman and Irrfan Khan along with Mithila Palkar is considered to be an honest film. People never showed up at the theater to watch this beautiful film about accepting death which also just happens to be one of the best road-trip movies. The last monologue by Salmaan hits different every single time you watch it. It earned ₹25.58 crores.
10- Qarib Qarib Singlle
In the times of over the top stories, Qarib Qarib Single starring the late Irrfan Khan and Parvathy Thiruvothu is a sweet old school romantic drama that will leave you smiling. Earning ₹21.03 crores, the movie has the innocence, the fun, the laughter and a very romantic climax. I seriously wish more people had seen in the theaters.
Trapped is a survival drama film starring Rajkummar Rao where he is stuck in an empty high rise without food, water, or electricity. It was made on a budget of Rs. 50 million and it made barely half of that (₹3.53crores). Go ahead and watch it and most importantly, talk about it because, given the pandemic, you’re kinda trapped as well.
12- A Death In The Gunj
Konkana Sen Sharma’s directorial debut is the epitome of beautiful storytelling. The movie is a sensitive portrayal of what it is like to battle mental health issues, especially in a world that rejects them and is devoid of any empathy. The calm manner that the story is told in is unnerving, in context with the story, and the movie keeps you gripped. It earned ₹1.37 crores.
13- Har Kisse Ke Hisse: Kaamyaab
‘Kaamyaab’ is an ode to Bollywood, the larger-than-life movies and their actors, bizarre wigs, love, drama, friendship passion but most importantly, it is about one’s ability to realize their dreams even when the chips are down. The movie cherry-picks the fascinating and lesser-known world of character actors (aka ‘sidekicks’) and delves deep without generating too much chaos and commotion around it. It earned ₹58 lakhs.
14- Mukti Bhawan
Mukti Bhawan is about coming to terms with the inevitability of death and the mixed emotions that come attached to it. Rajiv, played by Adil Hussain, accompanies his father Daya, played by Lalit Behl, to an elderly housing facility- Mukti Bhawan. Rajiv’s pragmatism clashes with the traditional views of Daya which leaves one with a fresh take on life. It earned ₹74 lakhs.
So which movie is getting pinned on your to-watch list?