Not every movie need be a Karan Johar sudser or a Farah Khan multi-starrer. Not every movie needs high-profile actors and even higher budgets. And low-budget movies need not be just the C-grade ones that rickshaw-wallahs enjoy. Let’s skim through the economically budgeted movies that rocked the box office.
10. Vicky Donor
This romcom movie which involves a cross-cultural Punjabi-Bengali romance hit upon a taboo topic in the Indian society-that of sperm donation and infertility. The inveterate sperm-collector played by Anu Kapoor and the dashing sperm donor- Ayushmann Khurrana create a cute storyline which is peppered with funnier performances of the quintessential Punjabi mom and the typical Bengali dad.
This was one of the few films which had a novel written on it. Featuring widows and their wretched existence and the treatment that they are subjected to, this movie was a ground-breaking film by Deepa Mehta with screenplay by Anurag Kashyap. Seema Biswas, Lisa Ray and John Abraham fortify the script and deliver a powerful message via the medium of celluloid.
An adaptation of the Punjabi novel written by the famous writer Amrita Pritam, Pinjar is a heart-wrenching tale of Hindu-Muslim problems during the partition of 1947. Through the life of Puro, a young Hindu girl whose hopes of marriage are dashed when she is kidnapped by a mysterious Muslim man, Rashid, what unfolds is a story where old scores are settled and new relations ripped apart.
The Bollywood version of The Bucket List, this movie talks about the sudden lease of life that the protagonist- Vinay Pathak gets when he realizes that he has only 3 months to live. Eponymous of the Russian term ‘dasvidaniya’ meaning goodbye, it made 18.7 million INR in its lifetime run.
6. Monsoon Wedding
A quirky tale of drama and love with histrionic twists and turns, Monsoon Wedding was a brainchild of Sabrina Dhawan when she was studying at Columbia University. Directed by Mira Nair, this went on to win many awards.
5. Taare Zameen Par
The stellar example of a low-budget film grossing millions and winning countless awards, Taare Zameen Par went on to be India’s official entry for the 2009 Academy Awards Best Foreign Film. Describing the world and the thought processes of a dyslexic kid, it maneuvers beautifully between varied emotions of being in a boarding school, the frustration of being misconstrued and the pain of being away from one’s parents. It is a wonderful illustration of a child’s world and his aspirations and difficulties.
4. Paan Singh Tomar
Based on the real-life story of the soldier-athlete-turned-bandit Paan Singh Tomar, this movie was made on a meagre budget of 45 million INR and went on to prove a superhit at the box office. It is a touching real-life tale of a talented sportsman and a soldier who turned into a ‘baaghi’ owing to lack of help from the authorities and family mishaps that wreck his career and personal life.
Based loosely on Anurag Kashyap’s life, Udaan received positive critical reviews. It’s the sort of movie that will stay on your mind for a long time. Revealing the many shades of middle class life, this movie is a ‘lingerer’.
2. Delhi Belly
The spicy flick rich with expletives with the crowning ‘DK Bose’ touch was another low-budget venture which went on to garner top-class ratings apart from the obvious A-rating. Delhi Belly was a black Hinglish comedy that gives a canny take on modern Indian society.
1. Stanley Ka Dabba
Directed by Amol Gupte with a 5-man crew in four-hour workshops for over a year and a half, this movie managed to tug at the audience’s hearts and created a sweet picture of a delightful boy whose tiffin or ‘dabba’ is the secret to his life.
The magic of movies lies in ideas, not in grandiloquent budgets, exotic locales or the big names in the industry.