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The Success Of 12th Fail: What Matters More Than A Rs 500 Crore Film | Movies News

New Delhi: Amongst the melee of the big-budget box office blockbusters of the year, Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s 12th Fail nudged its way around and found its way into the hearts of the audience.

The Vikrant Massey starrer was celebrated for its simple yet strong narrative, to restart over and over again in the face of failure. An adaptation of Anurag Pathak’s bestseller of the same name charted the journey of Manoj Kumar ( Vikrant Massey) based on Anurag Pathak and his efforts to crack the UPSC exams. Every year millions of hopefuls take the civil service exam, some are lucky, and the rest try till they succeed or fail over and over again. The film struck a chord and a strong word of mouth had people going to theatres, even though a Jawaan and Tiger 3 held centre court at most screens. Though its box office earnings may have been negligible, its 70 crores proved a point, that good content is viewed even though it didn’t have the 100 crore plus numbers to boast of.


A conscious effort by filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra to not sell the rights of the film simultaneously paid off. Its release on a streaming platform months after its release further amplified its popularity. Its strength lay in its relatable storyline and realistic performances, no false bravado and a larger-than-life hero showing off extraordinary feats.

The director said, “My job is to create cinema and share my belief system with the world.”

Actor Pankaj Tripathi says the audience is discerning and thus can make changes in the narrative. However, given the obsession with the box office, the actor says, it’s a business of art, everyone is focused on the investment return, but numbers cannot gauge good or bad cinema. Some may get great numbers but in terms of their cinematic narrative are below average. For example, certain harmful substances cost more than healthy products, so how can you gauge goodness based on numbers.”

Salman Khan’s Tiger 3 may not have lived up to expectations, but still had an edge over small films given screen space. As exhibitors initially pondered if a Vikrant Massey-driven film would get them box office are now marvelling at its performance. The actor in turn says, “Like the film’s tagline he has to constantly tell himself that I will never give up”.

But it is just not him, Vicky Kaushal’s Sam Bahadur is another such example of a good film, and it struggled to maintain its position. A strong word of mouth helped it pick up at the box office. But its earnings of 100 crores fell short in front of Animal’s blitzkrieg of 600 crores plus. Animal’s bloody and toxic theme had its naysayers but its promotional and PR drive and numbers to back drowned the noise.

But in an industry which is driven by star power, Manoj Bajpayee is vocal when he says as long as the box office exists it will create stars. He further goes on to say we need to demand good stories from filmmakers and not 600 crores, it is impossible to make films like these. As actors, our job is to make films we cannot be counting money and think just because our film has made a certain number, and everyone is writing about it thus coaxing the audience to watch it, we have done well. But, where is the filmmaking here?

He has a point, though his last Joram was released on limited screens and hardly had takers, likewise, Sajni Shinde Ka Viral Video opened to empty screens but is being extensively viewed on Netflix.

But in a day and age when your social currency defines your net worth. As many young actors say their social media followers translate as calls for auditions. Apart from the never-ending circus of paid reviews, social media postings overactive PR machinery, and influencers collaborating with one over the other, it is a case of “ kisski film mein hai dum”.

But with “12 Fail’s success in theatres and OTT, exhibitors feel it could well be a sign of times to come.

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