In just a little over a couple of weeks from now, Sridevi starrer Mom would be hitting the screens. The film saw some good reactions coming its way when its teaser was unveiled a few months ago. Recently, when its theatrical promo was out, it made for a stunning impression all over again, as it gave an impression of an intriguing suspenseful dramatic thriller in the offering.
While all of this has well established the kind of entertainment it has to offer for the discerning audience, one waits to see how it opens at the Box Office. Reason being that, while online forums and social media tend to grab such kind of affairs with both hands, when it comes to audience at large across the length and breadth of the country, it is word of mouth which plays the all-important role. After all, it is quintessential ‘filmy’ entertainment that brings in maximum footfalls when it comes to audiences at A, B as well as C centres. That has been seen with films like Baahubali 2, Badrinath Ki Dulhania or Jolly LLB 2.
However, when it comes to sheer content doing the talking, the start is invariably slow and it all ends up depending on the word of mouth to do the magic. A film like Hindi Medium could turn out to be one of the most appreciated and loved films of 2017. However its opening numbers were a mere Rs. 2.81 crore. To think of it, this film was still a feel good entertainer. Irfan Khan’s earlier solo flick Talvar too saw just Rs. 2.5 crore on its opening day. Pink, propelled due to the star presence of Amitabh Bachchan, could also garner just Rs. 4.32 crore on its start. Ditto for Neerja that had an opening of Rs. 4.7 crore before it crossed Rs. 75 crore lifetime.
Yet, the fact remains that films belonging to this genre which primarily appeal to the A centre multiplexes (at least to begin with) can’t really be expected to surpass the Rs. 5 crore mark on the opening day itself. Actually anything around Rs. 3 crore too is fair enough for them as at least a platform is set before word of mouth kicks in. Remember Queen? It stated off with a miserly Rs. 1.75 crore Day One. Look where it skyrocketed in time to come, so much so that history was created when it came to the ratio of a low opening day leading to a mouthful of lifetime numbers.
Of course Sridevi is a star in her own right. That said, her English Vinglish too did well after starting slow. It had Rs. 2.5 crore coming on its opening Friday and then audiences loved all the entertainment that the film had to offer, hence taking it well into the Rs. 40 crore zone. Yes, Mom doesn’t appear like the kind of entertainer which would keep audiences smiling right through the narrative. As a matter of fact it could well be very heavy in terms of storyline as well as treatment since it is a revenge tale in the offering. We saw that some time back with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan‘s Jazbaa as well which was stylishly made flick.
Well, in Jazbaa it was Irrfan Khan adding on to the gravitas and in case of Mom, there is Nawazuddin Siddiqui – the man of all seasons – coming across as Srivedi’s partner-in-crime. Is he the good guy, or the bad guy? And what exactly is Akshaye Khanna playing in the film? The differently cut promo of Mom does leave a lot of questions hanging in one’s mind, hence adding to the intrigue, suspense and mystery around the whole affair. What feels good about the film though is that there is a lot of talent in the offering with Sridevi, Akshaye and Nawazuddin coming together, something that promises a performance driven storytelling.
This could well compensate for the fact that most of the other actors in the film, very importantly the girl playing Sridevi’s daughter and the man playing her husband are new to the Indian audiences. While that could work for the film since one doesn’t watch these actors on screen with any set notions, the fact also remains that the opening numbers at the Box Office do get impacted to an extent since at least on the day of the release, ‘aam junta’ rather prefers those who are familiar.
The producers of Mom as well as director Ravi Udyawar could well have taken that call had they really wanted. After all, with a film starring Sridevi, Akshaye and Nawazuddin, it isn’t tough to gather known faces for rest of the ensemble cast as well. Still, if they chose to take a different route, there would have been a valid reason for that. One now waits to see what exactly are those reasons!
All said and done, what is definitely on the cards is a different story with a new narrative to it, something that would be jolting to the core. How audiences react to it would well decide the kind of distance that the film eventually covers. There are certain films that are not defined by the opening numbers that they gain; it is the inherent content that evens out the start and then contributes to the final run.
Sridevi’s Mom promises to be one such film.