Bollywood Wakes up to a Sleeper Sensation
The resounding success of Tere Bin Laden has taken Bollywood by storm. Not many from the industry expected this modest experiment to capture the hearts of the audiences all over the country! Weary as they are of the same old formulas hashed over and over again by producers unwilling to take risks, audiences are thronging to the multiplexes to catch this little indie gem from the production house Walkwater Media.
The film, starring Ali Zafar and Pradhuman Singh is a comedy about an ambitious young news reporter from Pakistan who is desperate to migrate to the US in pursuit of the American dream. His repeated attempts to immigrate are shot down as his visa is always rejected. But when things couldn’t look worse he comes across an Osama Bin Laden look alike and hatches an ingenious scheme to create a fake Osama video which will be his golden ticket to America
It is no surprise that Tere Bin Laden is outperforming the other Bollywood films in its week of release. The film has grossed more than Rs. 5 crores all over India in the first three days from 344 screens and the collections are estimated to double by the end of the week. Encouraged by the strong response Boney Kapoor’s BSK Network & Entertainment, distributors of the film are planning to widen the release by an additional 40-50 prints in the second week.
Internationally too, the film is enjoying a strong run. It has already grossed 150, 000 USD from the UK, UAE, and Australian territories. With a US release still in the pipeline overseas distributors Cinergy Independent Film Services believe that the collections are sure to rise. Owing to censorship problems, the film is yet to release in Pakistan, which promises to be a lucrative market for a film like this. With Ali Zafar acting in the film there a strong buzz about it in Pakistan.
Most critics have given the film a unanimous thumbs-up for its fresh plot and theme, and positive word of mouth is seeing the film sail through the competition. Noted critic Taran Adarsh summarizes his review by saying, “On the whole, Tere Bin Laden is a fun-ride that makes you smile constantly and even laugh outrageously in those two hours. A thorough entertainer, this film has all it takes to not only make its viewers laugh in the aisles, but also its investors laugh all the way to the bank.”
This light-hearted approach to the serious politics at the centre of the film is probably the key to the film’s appeal. Apurva Asrani, whose reviews appear on Chakpak.com agrees. He notes, “Thankfully, the film is totally devoid of references to terrorism and it is the American paranoia that makes us laugh more than anything else. It is a gentle reminder that Indians and Pakistanis may actually be on the same side.”
It is interesting to note the support this film has received from the industry itself. The micro-blogging site Twitter has seen a flurry of comments on the film from several members of the film industry. Salman Khan championed the film after watching a preview days before the release and urged his followers to watch the film.
Even Karan Johar goaded his fans on Twitter not to miss Tere Bin Laden. He tweets, “Just saw TERE BIN LADEN…wonderfully satirical…some fall down funny moments and great ensemble performances…” When contacted Karan said, “Tere Bin Laden is a victory for small films with large talent and intention! Bravo!”
Authors Chetan Bhagat and Shobhaa De also joined the Twitter bandwagon of championing the film. To quote Chetan Bhagat, “Saw Tere Bin Laden. Very funny, simple and original. For me, the best Hindi film this year so far.”
Producer Pooja Shetty Deora and Aarti Shetty who are breathing a sigh of relief after the film’s release say. “After all the hard work, it’s truly rewarding to know that audiences are responding positively. We are also very grateful that our colleagues from the industry supported us after watching the film, and helped to spread the word!”
Perhaps the comment that best describes public sentiment about the film comes from Shobhaa De who writes “Tere Bin Laden ROCKS! You don’t need hype, stars, monstrous budgets or even luv to make a super hit. Just brains, originality and a brilliant idea!