Marathi Cinema is Taking Bollywood & its Stars By Storm
Ritesh Deshmukh in a scene from <i>Lai Bhari </i>
Ritesh Deshmukh in a scene from Lai Bhari

Marathi Cinema is Taking Bollywood & its Stars By Storm

Going by the latest trends and box-office figures, the Marathi film industry is doing better business than Bollywood. A panel of producers and studio representatives disclosed to the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) that the regional industry had registered a nearly 200% profits last year.

The success of Sairat has been an eye-opener for those planning to invest in Marathi cinema. At the end of it’s 4th week Sairat collected Rs 75 Crore, which is huge considering it’s a regional film, mainly doing business in Maharashtra. Its numbers are already close to Shah Rukh Khan’s much celebrated Fan, which was an international release targeting a much wider audience, with a superstar at its helm and Bollywood’s most popular banner Yashraj Films backing it.

Even last week’s Marathi release Lal Ishq starring Swwapnil Joshi and Anjana Sukhani, which released with three other Bollywood films, Veerapan, Waiting and Phobia, and two big Hollywood films, The Angry Birds Movie and Alice Through a Looking Glass, managed to stand on its own too.

According to movieboxofficecollection.com, Lal Ishq collected Rs 4.86 Crore net in its opening weekend. Its five day total is Rs 7.37 Cr and since its budget was roughly around Rs 5-6 crore, it’s already in the green.

Bollywood actress Anjana Sukhani who plays the lead in Lal Ishq, spoke about the importance that Marathi films give to their content.

Marathi cinema gives a lot of emphasis on the content. Be it films like Court, Sairat, Natsamrat or Duniyadaari, one thing is common and that is that the content of these films is solid.
Anjana Sukhani, Actor

Riteish Deshmukh, who produces as well as acts in Marathi films, is also over the moon with the success of regional films.

In the last few years we have seen a surge not only in the content but also in the commerce of Marathi films. I feel very proud that people are going out and watching Marathi films. Sairat is the first Marathi film to cross Rs 50 crore, and that’s huge! The success is almost equivalent to a Dhoom 3 or 3 Idiots.
Riteish Deshmukh, Actor

A lot of popular Bollywood faces are now being seen in Marathi films. Riteish has produced and acted in Lai Bhari, Nana Patekar was the lead in Natsamrat, Anjana Sukhani plays the lead in Lal Ishq and now we’ll see Vidya Balan making her Marathi debut with Ek Albela, a film that traces the journey of actor-director Bhagwan Dada. Vidya plays yesteryear actress Geeta Bali in the film.

I wanted to do a Marathi film as I am from Mumbai. I was born and brought up here so, I know their culture. There couldn’t have been a first Marathi film for me, better than this. I am looking at Marathi scripts. A few films didn’t work. I was very nervous when I was offered this film. I don’t look like Geeta Bali, but I tried to look like her. I hope I have done it decently.
Vidya Balan (as reported by IANS) 

Does this mean that Marathi cinema has opened its doors to Bollywood actors?

I don’t think the doors are opening now. The doors were always open, but we are realising it now because now we are seeing commercially successful films like Lai Bhari and Sairat.
Anjana Sukhani 

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