Nagraj Manjule and his team have achieved an enviable success through its latest Marathi movie Sairat. By now, this movie is known to many non-Marathi speaking viewers as well. The movie has broken all previous records and has become the highest grossing Marathi movie ever, by surpassing Natsamrat, released at the beginning of 2016.
Nagraj Manjule has changed the entire rule book of movie-making while achieving phenomenal success. The director did not have much capital to bank upon, if we consider his previous work: Pistulya (award winning short film) and the feature film Fandry (liked by viewers and critically acclaimed by experts as well) while starting the work of Sairat, apart from the unwavering support he received from his producers, Nitin Keni and Nikhil Sane.
In the entire team of actors and actresses of Sairat, there were two known faces that had previous `experience’ of working in the movie: Chaya Kadam, who has worked with Nagraj in Fandry and is known to Marathi viewers, and Suraj Pawar, who has worked with the same director in Pistulya and Fandry.
The lead actress Rinku Rajguru is a school going teenager who was only 13 years old when this movie was shot. She is not considered to be `beautiful’ by many, going by the conventions followed in Bollywood and yet she is very beautiful – so much so that she has been breaking all the records of publicity that all previous Marathi actresses have received yet. It is the leading lady who is the `driver’ of this movie in the true sense, who rides a horse, a Bullet motorcycle and a tractor for her first date. She is the one who takes lead in proposing to the hero. She uses a revolver to run away with the hero of the movie. While creating these sequences in the movie, the director ensures that viewers would not find it unrealistic in any manner. People flocked to the cinema houses to watch the amazing chemistry created by Archie and Parshya (the names of the lead characters from Sairat). The lead actor Aakash Thosar was a wrestler and was seen by the brother of Nagraj Manjule on one of the Railway Stations before he was cast in the movie.
The movie did not have casting director, fight master, and choreographer. The songs and dance sequences, love scenes and many other interesting themes in Sairat have been shot in a village in district Solapur and certain part of Hyderabad. The Movie Makers did not find it necessary to go to Switzerland/South Africa or even the hill stations of India for that matter. Yet, viewers appreciated the excellent cinematography and loved to watch this movie again and again.
The movie has achieved one of the best returns on investment (ROI) so far. The total cost of making the movie is estimated at little less than rupees four crores and the total revenue it has grossed so far is close to rupees eighty crores. Many experts feel that this could be the first Marathi movie to gross over Rs. 100 crores in box office revenue.
In the entire cost of production, the big ticket item for Sairat has been its music and for the first time Atul-Ajay, the music directors of this movie, recorded all four songs in a Hollywood studio, the feat which no other Indian movie has managed so far.
The latest news talks about the lead pair being awarded the bonus of rupees five crores each. The news item also mentioned the fact that both of them were signed with rupees four lakh each. Right from Bollywood to Hollywood, a number of actresses have been extremely critical about the disparity that exists between the pay of male and female actors. Without saying a word about it, Nagraj and his management team have demonstrated how other movie makers and their managers are way behind them. The producers have plans in place to award bonuses to entire cast and crew of Sairat along with the lead pair of the movie.
Sairat is a story (authored by the director Nagraj Manjule himself) communicated in its entire purity, without any big star casts, without shooting at international locations, with the publicity of word of mouth to a large extent which managed to generate astounding response at the box-office and all time big revenue in the shortest time. The movie was made by completely ignoring all the `success formulas’ of movie making and yet could create a history.
Management guru Clayton Christensen has been given credit for recognizing the trends involved in business disruptions. There is no way he could have seen the movie Sairat and understood the disruptive potential displayed by the movie. I am not sure whether Nagraj Manjule has read the work by Christensen and has followed it. Personally, I have no doubt about the fact that his latest movie Sairat carries a huge potential of disrupting the entire movie business in this country.
In one of the interviews Rinku Rajguru said, “This movie has ended my childhood.” Let us hope the movie Sairat results in bringing maturity to Indian Cinema, while caring for the `business’ that it is supposed to do, by coming out of its infancy…..