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Does celebrity review impact the box office business of a film? As the Kartik Aaryan starrer Kabir Khan's latest directorial venture Chandu Champion is gaining momentum at the box office and industry veterans including Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar, among many, are giving rave reviews of the film, here we look at how some of the content-driven films earned big after celebrity reviews on social media

By Arundhuti Banerjee

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There are two ways to promote a film: extensive promotional activities by the artists involved in the project and word of mouth post-release. However, it is an interesting trend that we have noticed in the recent past in how celebrities are openly praising the film and the actors, eventually creating an extra layer of curiosity to watch the film. Celebrity recommendations also create a FOMO among the young audience that nudges them to watch the film! The latest being Kartik Aaryan starrer Chandu Champion, which is highly praised by Bollywood veteran Shabana Azmi, who wrote a heartwarming note to Kartik and mentioned how she was moved by the performance of the young actor.

Here we look at four interesting films that gained momentum at the box office after extensive support by celebrities.

Chandu Champion: Based on the life journey of the first Paralympics gold medalist from India, the film, directed by Kabir Khan and enacted by Kartik Aaryan as the protagonist, was released in theatres on Friday, June 14. Since then, the audience, the critics, and industry veterans have started giving rave reviews to the film. The celebrated actress Shabana Azmi wrote a heartwarming note to Kartik and shared how she was in tears after watching the wonderful performance of the young actor. The film has already earned Rs 32.47 crore and counting.

Srikanth: As the film used one of the famous songs, Papa Kehte Hain, from Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan's film Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Khan specially came forward to promote and watch the film. During the launch of the song, he also took a moment to praise the film and the performance of Rajkummar. Known for being the perfectionist that he is, his good words naturally generated a lot of curiosity among the audience to watch the film. So, even though it was a small budget film with a content of a content of Rs 37 crore and limited promotional activity, it received a substantial number in the theatre. The film opened on the first weekend with Rs 11.95 crore, and with strong word of mouth, it went on to earn 62.27 crore at the box office. On top of all the praise from critics and audiences alike for the nuanced performance of the protagonist, the film got extra mileage when another superstar of Bollywood, Akshay Kumar, watched the film and showered his love for Rajkummar's acting skills. On his Instagram story, he wrote, "Nothing is impossible. 'Srikanth' is a must-watch! Picture dekh ke mazza aa gaya (enjoyed watching the film). Bhai ab to acting ki classes shuru kar de (Brother, start acting classes now). You are simply brilliant!" Such appreciation from a legendary actor also made it special for Rajkummar, and he responded to Akshay on social media. Rajkummar wrote, "Thank you so much, my dearest Akshay Kumar sir. Aapse hi sikhte hai sir (learning from you only). You are the best."

Laapataa Ladies: This was the second directorial venture of Kiran Rao, produced by Aamir Khan under his banner, Aamir Khan Productions. After the film screened at the prestigious 48th Toronto International Film Festival, it needed a lot of support from the audience and industry insiders to get enough visibility in the theatre. And it was interesting to notice how the film got so much visibility from word of mouth and social media posts by industry insiders and Bollywood stars like Sunny Deol, Salman Khan, Karan Johar, Kajol, Radhika Apte, and filmmaker Anand L Rai, among others. Eventually, the film, which was made under a budget of approximately Rs 5 crore, went on to earn Rs 25.25 crore at the box office. Clearly, the audience values the recommendations of their favourite stars and good stories.

Mrs. Chatterjee vs. Norway: It becomes a task to promote a film that is emotionally sensitive and does not have multiple song dance sequences, a common part of any quintessential Bollywood film. Mrs. Chatterjee vs. Norway was one of such films, based on a real-life story by Rani Mukherji. Directed by Ashima Chibber, the film was extensively promoted by Karan Johar and industry insiders, who praised the filmmakers and the actress for taking up such a subject that questioned the system. The film started gaining momentum at the box office after it got positive reviews from Shah Rukh Khan, Rekha, Neha Dhupia, Kajol, Suriya, and Katrina Kaif, among others. Though it had a slow start on its first weekend, eventually the film earned Rs 36.53 crore and had a strong impact among the audience on parenting, different cultures, and women's empowerment.

Jawaan: When the film was released in theatres on September 7 last year, the audience was already excited about watching their favourite Shah Rukh Khan in action again. So the huge collection of its first weekend was for its star power, but from the second week on, it was the strong word-of-mouth and, of course, the extensive support and social media chatter around the film by the celebrities. The film was highly praised by SS Rajamouli, Mahesh Babu, Ameesha Patel, Tiger Shroff, Akshay Kumar, and businessman Anand Mahindra, among many others. The buzz was so huge and the footfalls at the theatre were so high that eventually the film, which was made under a budget of Rs 370 crore, earned Rs 1,148.32 crore at the box office worldwide.

Arundhuti Banerjee

Content Editor

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