The Kashmir Files, Box Office Miracle

Good film doesn’t always mean good business in Bollywood. Many good, meaningful films never get a good opening in the box office. Movies like “Kagaz Ke Phool”, “Arth”, “Andaz Apna Apna” and even “Hera Pheri” never got box office success but later became cult cinema. The Kashmir Files changed that. Despite having a low opening, the movie finally emerged as the biggest Hindi blockbuster post pandemic.

The horrifying story based on the exile of Kashmiri Pundits during the 1990 genocide was a topic most directors would shy away from. When it comes to the topic of religion, caste, and ethnicity, most film makers avoid it to avoid conflict with various religious and ethnic groups. Vivek Agnihotri took the risk. Even his earlier movie, The Tashkent Files, was kind of offbeat cinema, which eventually turned out to be a box office sleeper hit.

The kind of collection that The Kashmir Files had was something which has never been heard of, at least in Bollywood, in the last 2-3 decades. In Bollywood, a movie’s fate gets decided within the first weekend itself or by the end of the first Monday, as most movies don’t run more than a week in theaters.

 The Kashmir Files had a mere opening of 3.55 Cr. on its first day. Most trade analysts had already called the movie BIG FLOP. Reviewers were criticizing the movie left and right; fake negative audience reviews and reactions flooded the internet. The makers didn’t even get to promote their movie on most TV channels’ reality shows as no one invited them. By the end of the first weekend, it netted 27.15 Cr. (7.6 times the opening day). The positive word of mouth spread so fast by Friday evening itself that it picked up dramatically on Saturday and Sunday.

By the end of the first week, it had collected 97.30 Cr. (27 times the opening day). Its weekday collections were much higher than its weekend ones. Rarely do we get to see such numbers. The Bollywood celebrities, who are always eager to promote even the crappiest movies such as ‘The God Father’, on their social media were mum. Those who had posted negative comments or predicted big failure deleted their posts and tweets.

No one knew the first week was just the trailer. Even by the end of the first week, most so-called trade pundits predicted the movie would collect no more than 120 Cr. in its lifetime as bigger movies were slated to release on Friday. The second week brought many more surprises by earning more than the first. By the end of the second week, it had collected 207.33 Cr. It was something very rare, like once in a blue moon, which we were witnessing. Trade pundits and critics were literally scratching their heads.

The movie eventually went on to collect around 253 Cr. at the domestic box office, with a worldwide gross collection reported at around 340 Cr. Who could have imagined a movie which got an opening of 3.55 would end up earning 71 times more than its opening day collection?

In Bollywood, only a few movies had such a steep rise in their box office collection graph day after day. One being ‘Jai Santoshi Maa’ and another being ‘Hum Aapke Hain Koun’, both of which are still considered to be the highest ROI movies till date.

So as a reviewer it would be injustice to give anything less than 5 Stars for the movie.

Had there been no cinema, then this SharmaJiKaLadka would have died long ago. Out of food, sex and cinema this guy would always choose Cinema even if he would die virgin due to starvation.
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