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Content Driven Small Budget Bollywood Releases Are Winning Hearts Again! As the latest released Rajkummar Rao starrer film – Mr &Mrs. Mahi earned Rs 17.12 crore on its first weekend, we see a bright sign of how small-budget content-driven films including Srikanth, Lapaata Ladies and more are winning the hearts of the audience with substantial business at the box office. Here we take a look…

By Arundhuti Banerjee

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Mr and Mrs Mahi, Film

As the latest released Rajkummar Rao starrer film – Mr &Mrs. Mahi earned Rs 17.12 crore on its first weekend, we see a bright sign of how small-budget content-driven films including Srikanth, Lapaata Ladies and more are winning the hearts of the audience with substantial business at the box office. Here we take a look…

Looking at the Box office collection of two of his films – Mr &Mrs Mahi and Srikanth – it seems, May was meant for the National award-winning much-loved youngster Rajkummar Rao. He had two releases in May that not only showcased his talent as a versatile actor but also how two small-budget content-driven films are working at the box office. Last year, most of the content-driven films failed to find space when released theatrically, though most of them were highly praised later when released on OTT platforms.

Here, we take a close look at three such theatrical releases and if the good time of content-driven films is coming back again.

1. Mr & Mrs Mahi: The film, starring Rajkummar Rao and Janhvi Kapoor is a story of a young married couple and how the game of cricket and their dream around the sports changes their life journey. Directed by Sharan Sharma and produced by Dharma Production and Zee Studios, was released on May 31. Made under the budget of 40 crore (approx.) the film had a good opening of Rs. 6.85 crore, followed by the second-day collection of Rs 4.65 crore. However, the film saw its 21 percent growth on Sunday with the collection of Rs 5.62 crore. Currently, the film has collected Rs 17.12 crore (Net box office collection in India) and growing with word-of-mouth.

2. Savi: Directed by Delhi Belly - famed film director Abhinay Deo and produced by T-Seires Films, the film Savi explores the genre of female-centric story, as it revolves around the mysterious murder of a man and how his wife Savi, played by Divya Khosla deals with the situation to find the murderer. The film is also starring Bollywood veteran Anil Kapoor in a very special character of Joydeep Paul. The film was also released on May 31 and had a date clash with Mr & Mrs Mahi. The opening day collection of the film at the box office was approx. Rs 2.5 crore according to the report published by the production house. The film is growing with word-of-mouth as it received positive reviews from critics for Divya's performance and the plot point of the story. Though the weekend collection number is yet to be disclosed, the film saw a steady footfall in the theatre courtesy of low cinema admission rates on the occasion of Cinema Lovers' Day on June 2.

3. Srikanth: The biopic of Srikanth Bolla, the visually challenged industrialist and the founder of Bolla Industries – Srikanth – featured Rajkummar Rao and was released on May 10. Made under the budget of Rs 40 crore (approx.) the film had a good opening at the box office with Rs 2.25 crore. The film picked up with positive responses from the audience and critics alike, and the first-week collection of the film touched Rs 11.95 crore. The film picked up since then with the collection of Rs 30.55 crore on the 13th day after its release. It is still running in the theater successfully and currently earned Rs 44. 28 crore and counting.

It is interesting to notice how both the films of Rajkummar that are made under the same budget had different Friday collections. While Srikanth earned Rs 2.25 crore on the first Friday, Mr & Mrs Mahi earned Rs. 6.85 crore.

Small budget, big ideas: Both content-driven films are gaining momentum at the box office. In the recent past also two such small-budget films Madgaon Express and Laapataa Ladies won many hearts. It seems that the golden time of content-driven films is coming back to business again. Last year, when some of the start-driven big-budget, big canvas films like – Pathaan, Jawaan, Tiger 3, Animal, Gadar 2 and Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani – did exceedingly well at the box office, many industry insiders and film producers thought that the audience perhaps showing interest only to turn up in the theatre for such big canvas experiential films.

However, this year, one of the big-ticket films Bade Miyan Chote Miyan starring a superstar like Akshay Kumar, made under a budget of around Rs 350 crore, terribly failed at the box office with a poor business of Rs 95.48 crore.

Madgaon Express on the other hand, directed by Kunal Kemmu, made under a budget of Rs 30 crore, released on March 22, still running in the theatre, already earned Rs. 48.98 crore and now streaming on Amazon Prime Video. The film only received positive reviews from the audience and critics alike. The film featured Divyendy Sharma, Avinash Tiwary, and Pratik Gandhi in pivotal roles.

Laapataa Ladies also a film, produced by Aamir Khan, and directed by Kiran Rao, featured a bunch of newcomers as lead alongside Ravi Kisan, made under a controlled budget of Rs 5 crore and it went on to earn Rs 25 crore at the box office. The film also received critical appreciation.

Cleary, the audience is coming back to theatre, not only to experience the huge visual spectacles but also stories that are emotional, and intimate. Let's keep our fingers crossed for more such box-office miracles for films with small budgets and big hearts!

Arundhuti Banerjee

Content Editor

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