Box Office Falters But Tales Of Corruption, Turbulence Make Their Mark In Bollywood

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Box Office Falters But
Tales Of Corruption, Turbulence Make Their Mark In Bollywood
It never rains but it pours, at least in Bollywood, and this time, you get to see half-a-dozen low-budget flicks vying for visibility and struggling for a successful box office run. Mind you, when we say half-a-dozen, we are not exaggerating – here is the complete list of six – Manjunath, Koyelaanchal, Hawaa Hawaai, Mastram, Yeh Hai Bakrapur and finally, Khwaabb. So catch your breath as we run you through them quickly. There is just one common factor here – all of them turn out to be pretty intriguing, irrespective of the sluggish response at the domestic box office.

Manjunath: Bitter to the end
Our first choice is Manjunath, a biopic directed and co-produced by Sandeep A. Varma, which tells the true story of the Indian Oil executive Manjunath Shanmugam and his fight against the oil mafia of Uttar Pradesh. The murder of this IIM braveheart for his whistleblowing act is still considered a national tragedy, but Varma’s kind of docu-drama unfolds a dark reality that’s too chilling and too gut-wrenching to give way to tears. The movie meanders at times, but the protagonist, brilliantly played by newcomer Sasho Satish Saarthy, takes you to a world where corruption is a way of life. However, the verdict at the domestic box office has been harsh and Manjunath only managed to nett around Rs 1 crore after Day 4 while debut day earnings were a paltry Rs 15-20 lakh.

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Koyelaanchal: Look what’s unearthed
The second flick under scanner is Koyelaanchal, produced and directed by Ashu Trikha. After Gangs of Wasseypur and Gunday, it is the latest from Bollywood on the exploits of the coal mafia and had a huge release, especially in single screens. But the film tripped at the box office and collected about Rs 45 lakh on the opening day. Although official numbers are yet to come in, total earnings spanning the first three days are a little below Rs 2 crore, as per industry estimates.

In Koyelaanchal, we again come face to face with all-pervading corruption and criminal use of natural resources. This time, it is the coal Mafioso Saryubhan Singh aka Maalik (Vinod Khanna), who rules the mines of the Bihar-Jharkhand belt and locks horns with district collector Nisheeth Kumar (Suniel Shetty) when he raises troublesome questions. The script goes haywire at times, but the USP here happen to be the thorough research and the realistic take at a time when a multi-billion-dollar Coalgate scam has deeply shaken the nation.

Box Office Falters But
Tales Of Corruption, Turbulence Make Their Mark In Bollywood
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Mastram: Morality decoded
Next comes Mastram, again an offbeat movie that deals with a sexually repressed society and its ingrained hypocrisy. A directorial debut by Akhilesh Jaiswal, it is the story of the failed author Rajaram (Rahul Bagga) whose work gets rejected because they lack masala. But the man finally excels as he starts writing erotica and along with that, begins a painful journey of self-realisation. Made on a budget of around Rs 2 crore, this ‘fictional biography’ had collected around Rs 75 lakh on the opening day at the domestic box office and its earnings stood at a little over Rs 3 crore after the first Monday.

Hawaa Hawaai: Breezy & smooth-flowing
Back again after Stanley Ka Dabba (well, that one grossed a little over Rs 5 crore), director-writer Amol Gupte’s commercial entertainer Hawaa Hawaai has been produced by Fox Star Studios and hopes to do better this time. The movie netted around Rs 4.25 crore in the first three days and had an estimated budget of Rs 6 crore.
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True to his pet genre, Gupte is still catering to the young audience and telling a simple tale with a touching innocence that will win every heart. But the emotional outing and catch-my-dream theme are fraught with grim realities as well. Arjun Harishchandra Waghmare (Amol’s son Partho Gupte) is a migrant child labour who toils hard at a roadside restaurant in Mumbai but wants to become a champion roller-skater. That’s not too difficult when the kind-hearted coach Lucky (Saqib Saleem) is willing to help and his poor but large-hearted peers are keen to support him as much as they can. Overall, a thought-provoking movie that flows smoothly without too many hitches.

Box Office Falters But
Tales Of Corruption, Turbulence Make Their Mark In Bollywood

Endno te
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The other two releases of the week are Yeh Hai Bakrapur and Khwaabb. The former is a many-layered socio-political satire, starring Anshuman Jha and Asif Basra (plus, Shah Rukh the Goat) and directed by Janaki Vishwanathan. The scathing attack on blind faith, punctuated with sharp wit, makes it an amply watchable movie. Khwaabb (directed by Zaid Ali Khan), on the other hand, is a sports-based romance-drama starring Navdip Singh and Simer Motiani. In spite of some interesting scripts, both movies failed to impact the domestic box office – each collecting a little over Rs 1 crore after the third day.

But don’t worry too much even if there has been a box office debacle for some time now. Rajinikanth’s Kochadaiiyaan is due to be released in a couple of weeks and that will surely set the box office ringing while mainstream movie fans go crazy about thalaiva.

Images: Indiatimes