With OMG and English Vinglish, is word of mouth back in fashion?
The way 2012 has progressed, not just has it thrown some unimaginable statistics as far as big grossers are concerned (it is a record year for films that entered the 100 crore club), it has also brought back the old fashioned trend of word of mouth doing the trick. This has been for the films that didn’t really take a flattering opening and still went on to be good successes. Ironically, and very interestingly, one common factor that has remained consistent about each of these films is the fact that none of them had a saleable commercial leading actor to boast of and did well entirely ‘apne dum par’.
Pick up any film from the Paan Singh Tomar to English Vinglish, the verdict is out – ‘A good film has found it’s way amongst the audience, even if a little late’. Its business may have ranged from coverage to superhit but the makers don’t have any reason to complain. This also means that if a film has been left ignored and given a cold shoulder by the audience, it has been deservedly so. A film was all there to be grabbed, if the audience didn’t catch it then that was for a reason.
The indications were pretty much there, though on a much lesser scale, when Riteish Deshmukh-Genelia D’Souza starrer Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya hung on reasonably well to find an average status for it at the least at the very start of the year. It has to be noted that as a solo lead, Riteish had scored for years and after a tepid beginning, his musical romcom managed to find an audience in the long run. Ditto for Paan Singh Tomar which is the classic case of even those not being ultra confident who had invested in it. Irrfan Khan and Tigmanshu Dhulia took it upon them to keep the flag flying high which means there was yet another success added to Bollywood report card.
The epitome of word of mouth resulting in an exceptional affair was Kahaani which was a hero-less, song-less film with pregnant leading lady and a director with two flops behind him. The Vidya Balan starrer didn’t take a start but audience were left mighty impressed. The film turned out to be a superhit while enjoying the best word of mouth of the year so far. Close on its heels was Vicky Donor which didn’t have any ‘peg’ to it whatsoever, as far as it’s promotion was concerned. Well, just imagine trying to sell a film about sperm donation, featuring a newcomer and directed by a filmmaker who wasn’t following Bollywood diktat!
As for Barfi! , it did take the best opening when compare to all aforementioned films but post it’s release even Priyanka Chopra went on record to state that no one had much faith about it’s box office prospects. Even director Anurag Basu was almost apologetic when questioned about the 100 crore club and is perhaps equally puzzled today with the film actually covering the distance.
Similarly who would have ever thought that a film starring Paresh Rawal as the central lead would comfortably march towards the 50 crore mark and that too with a director (Umesh Shukla) with whom the earlier pairing (Maharathi) was a resounding flop? Well, Akshay Kumar thought so and though he must not have been too pleased by the film’s opening day collections, thumbs up by audience soon after was good enough to make the team smile again.
Today, I am sure that Gauri Shinde, Sridevi and Balki are going through similar emotions, what with theirEnglish Vinglish finding good patronage from the target audience which wasn’t as forthcoming on the opening day and was perhaps waiting for their peers to announce verdict. Well, now that the verdict is out and the film is finding huge growth in word of mouth, it has only added on the beautiful trend that has started developing this year.
In the times when bets are being placed on blockbusters material films crossing 100 crores in 4, 5 or 6 days, it is always heartening when deserving films (made at 25% of the budget that biggies carry) make half of that in 4, 5 or 6 weeks. It only implies loud and clear that even in the times of multiplexes and quick bucks, if a film is good enough, audience won’t let it disappear in a jiffy.
This leads me to a question – Which of the upcoming medium/small films this year (Chittagong, Makkhi, Bhoot Returns, 1920 – Evil Returns, Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana) do you think would be the ones that would benefit from word of mouth instead of just a terrific opening?