The Bollywood film industry has millions of people following its every move with over a thousand films released a year. And some films blow up while others tank. There are certain factors that ensure a film’s general success.
For example, big stars and a big budget go a long way towards making a film a hit. Because the star power draws people to the cinema. And a big budget means a big production. But this isn’t always the case. Sometimes small budget films can have a huge impact because of great acting and creative storytelling.
Here are 6 low budget Bollywood films which did exceptionally well at box office.
1. Peepli Live
This 2010 film became a huge hit despite its serious subject matter and lack of star power. The satirical comedy delved into content related to “farmer suicides” – a prevalent social issue. In a country like India where 70 percent of the population depends on agriculture to make a living the existing policies hinder the poor majority.
Bad policies, high debt, and other issues impact mental health and are a leading cause for Indian suicides. And Peepli Live addressed this beautifully. The film directed by Anusha Rizvi and Mahmood Farooqui made over 46 Crore from a budget of just 14 Crore.
Pink – directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury – was released in 2016 and explored issues of consent and women’s rights in a highly patriarchal society. The film featured Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu and was a huge success. The initial budget of 29 Crore made a profit of 109 Crore when it hit the big screens.
During its 50 day theatre run Pink was specially screened at both the United Nations headquarters and the Rajasthan Police station. The plot dealt with controversial issues like police treatment of rape victims, harassment allegations and the importance of male accountability.
Kahaani was among the highest grossing films in 2012, making a profit of 92 Crore from an initial cost of just 20 Crore. The director and writer Sujoy Ghosh wowed audiences with his realistic portrayal of Kolkata, using on-site guerilla filmmaking techniques.
The plot delves into themes regarding pregnancy, feminism and motherhood. And how they influence issues of identity in a male-dominated society.
4. Taare Zameen Par
Taare Zameen Par is one of the most popular films to have come out of the Bollywood film industry. However, lesser known is the fact that the film had a small budget of only 18 Crore. The touching story of an 8-year-old dyslexic boy discovering his talent for art touched the hearts of Indians everywhere.
Darsheel Safary played the role of the child while Aamir Khan acted as the teacher whose mentorship allowed a dyslexic child to cope with his illness. The 2007 film fundamentally changed how audiences thought about childhood disorders. And made a huge statement about the important role of teachers and the educational system. The film grossed up to 88 Crore that year alone.
5. Vicky Donor
This 2012 romantic comedy served as the debut film for actors Ayushman Khurrana and Yami Gautam. And follows the story of a young man who becomes a sperm donor out of financial desperation.
Audiences then get to witness the reactions of the numerous people in the protagonist’s life as they find out about his job description including his mother, friends and fiancé. The film started with a budget of 10 Crore but was such a hit with audiences that it ended up grossing up to 62 Crore.
6. The Lunchbox
And romantic film ‘The Lunchbox’ featured a good cast with Irrfan Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Nimrat Kaur. But had a budget of only 20 Crore. The film made 5 times that once it hit the box office grossing up to 101 Crore. It is considered one of the best films to have ever been made in Bollywood. And until last year was Irrfan Khan’s highest grossing film.