The Kerala Story and Afwah
— two polar-opposite films of our time — released on the same Friday and witnessed opposite fortunes at the box office.A deep understanding of their theatrical journey brings heartbreak, hurt, and some hope.
On May 10, five days after the controversial film “Kerala Story” and Sudhir Mishra‘s dramatic thriller “Afwa” were released on the same Friday, filmmaker Anurag Kashyap opposed a move to ban the former,writing that anyone who disagrees with a film, can find out. “Promotion”, but its screening is wrong. Instead, he asked people to look into rumors and “amplify” their voices.
Friday, May 5 saw the release of two polar opposite films, which saw considerable drama and disappointment. With The Kerala Story declared tax-free in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh’s endless controversies and soaring box office collections dominating the weekend news cycle, Afwah fought a silent heartbreak even as reviews championed it as one of the boldest films ever made. year.
Directed by Sudhir Mishra, produced by Anubhav Sinha and Bhushan Kumar‘s T-Series, opened in just 60 screens across India, starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Bhumi Pednekar – popular names among multiplex and single screen audiences. “Kerala Story,” directed by little-known Adah Sharma, opened on 1,276 screens and had reached about 1,500 screens by Monday. The film was backed by the BJP government when the rumors died down on day one.
Meanwhile, “Kerala Stories” is expected to end its lifetime box office with over Rs 2.25 crore. According to a source close to the film, Afwah received a “disgraceful” release, not even given a fighting chance at the box office to translate its glowing reviews into respectable box office collections.
The theatrical release comes first because streaming platforms no longer buy movies directly to OTT as they have done during the pandemic, sources said. Now, a film must be shown in at least 25 screens to qualify for a post-theatrical OTT premiere. Mishra said he knows many audiences missed seeing Afwa on the big screen, but closing theaters in the wake of the pandemic has not been easy.
While film strategy and post-release acquisitions happen behind closed doors, the ones who bear the brunt of flops are the actors—and they’re not happy.According to sources, actors linked to Afwah knew the film was likely to be released quietly, prompting them to avoid revealing their names and faces when promoting the film because “it wasn’t their fault” and the label would fail on them. body.
Something similar was noticed during the promotional campaign of Rajkummar Rao and Pednekar starrer Sinhar Ved. After the initial few media rounds, the actors were not seen promoting the film. “And they’re not wrong at all. The blame would have been on them. Some things need to change. Of course, post-pandemic short films have been severely affected, but, again, give it a chance? Especially when you know you’ve got a good film on your hands, ” the source said.