Cashing in on success

Cashing in on success

A quick question, which film was Dev Anand’s last box office hit? Many people will say ‘Des Pardes’, but actually it was a 1989 pot boiler called...

Sleeper hits are the best things about cinema!

A quick question, which film was Dev Anand’s last box office hit? Many people will say ‘Des Pardes’, but actually it was a 1989 pot boiler called ‘Lashkar’, which was his last box office hit. It was incidentally one of Nadeem-Shravan’s first efforts at music. ‘Lashkar’ therefore was one of those, which we call the “Sleeper hits”.

Last week the cinema buffs woke up to a surprise money spinner called ‘Hate Story 3’. Till Monday the movie raked in 32 crore and it is still counting. While the purists have turned their noses up at this one, those who revel in cinema are clearly enjoying this one too. Yours truly saw this one and can tell you that it is indeed a value for money and is for sure a onetime watch at least. ‘Hate Story 3’ is the second sleeper hit of 2015 after ‘Talvar’. In fact, the first ‘Hate Story’ was a big sleeper hit, which gave birth to the Hate Story franchise.

We all like and love sleeper hits. They give us something new suddenly and breaks us from the boring sleepy stuff, which the bigger camps sometimes start offering us. Not many today will agree, but two movies in the 1980s that brought back romance and love stories to the screen –and the trend continues till today were ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak’ and ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’.

Not many will remember or recall but to pull audiences into the theatre, the producers of ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak’ (QSQT) had a rifle holding Dilip Tahil and a knife holding Aamir from the climax, the other trick was Aamir’s lip lock with Juhi on the posters. All this was done to ensure that the audiences, who preferred either guns or sleaze, would walk in. Word of mouth and the musical success of this one ensured that we got one of our long running superstar and a great movie to cherish. Then came ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’, which got even far lesser publicity than QSQT and again grew bigger on word of mouth till it became one of the biggest box office successes in those days.

Sleeper hits bring hope to the makers, who do not want to tow the line.

So when a ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ or a ‘Shiva’ happens, with that, the audience also wakes up to legend kind of makers, who change the map of cinema production. Sure Nagarjuna was a big name when ‘Shiva’ hit the southern theatres, but no one knew him up north. It was that enigmatic poster of a fist with a bicycle chain, which drew audiences into the theatres up north. ‘Shiva’ brought back the belief in makers that violence will also work and Bollywood, which was shifting towards love stories in a big way post ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’, QSQT and ‘Chandni’ realised that the audiences were ready to look at multiple genres at the same time. Shiva’s success ensured violence stayed and we got Indian cinemas biggest classic cinema maker called RGV.

Sleeper hits also bring in better economics for those who invest in cinema. While the cash register rings when big stars come up with their releases on festivals, it also makes the cinema business inconsistent and risky for the theatre owners and others associated with it like your canteen wala. Sleeper hits ensure that there is consistency and new stars get added to the bandwagon.

We got Amitabh out of a sleeper hit ‘Zanjeer’. I raise my morning cup of tea to sleeper hits and rest my case.

By: Rahul Deo Bharadwaj

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