Tingya, the critically acclaimed Marathi film which was released in Mumbai and Pune last week, has virtually swept the moviebuffs off their feet.
The film, directed by debutant 27-year-old Mangesh Hadawale and produced by noted television producer Ravi Rai, tells the story of a seven-year-old son of a ryot and his bull in rural Maharashtra with a backdrop of farmers suicides.
Tingya, which was premiered at the IFFI Goa last year and won the best film award at the Mumbai film festival last month, has hit the bull's eye at the box office collecting Rs 3.68 lakh in the first three days of its release.
Trade sources said that Tingya is going houseful in Mumbai and Pune in the second week. Significantly, at Plaza cinema in the heart of Mumbai, the film's tickets were being sold in black.
The film is being distributed by Pervez Damania's newly formed One More Thought Entertainment Pvt Ltd.
According to sources,Tingya got a 90 per cent opening when it released on April 11.
"The film had already reached the people through its reviews during the various film festivals where it won rave reviews and awards."
"This aroused curiousity about the film. Besides, Marathi audiences appreciate good cinematic work. This film was of a different genre and had no star cast."
Sources pointed out that Tingya was well- publicised well before the theatrical release. This only goes on to show that you will get money in return on a film only if you spend on promoting it.
Saade Maade Teen, produced by Zee talkies late last year was promoted very well and even helped several theatres in Mumbai to do good business.
"The success of Saade Maade Teen starring Ashok Saraf, Bharat Jadhav and Makrand Anaspure made theatre owners take notice of the fact that Marathi movies too are a money making proposition. If you notice the trend, there are a good amount of advertisements about Marathi films in newspaper and television channels," Sadiq Chitlikar, who is distributing 'Tingya' told PTI.
Chitlikar said the decision to release Tingya in Mumbai and Pune with limited prints was taken because being an offbeat story without a starcast, a mass release would have been suicidal. "Such a film can work only through mouth publicity," he said.
Kiran Shantaram, proprietor of Plaza Cinema said, "I have seen audiences thoroughly appreciating the debutant director's work and the performances even after coming out of the theatre."
Chitlikar said Valu, starring Atul Kulkarni, Dilip Prabhavalkar, Amruta Subhash and others, distributed by Subhash Ghai's banner did well at the BO. Besides this, Ashwini Bhave's Kadachit was also well received in Mumbai.
Earlier, Marathi films lagged due to lack of publicity and marketing. But, the scenario is changing for the better, Chitlikar said.
Noted actor-filmmaker Sachin Pilgaonkar, who is releasing his movie Amhi Satpute this week, has taken the lead in following the footsteps of Bollywood films in terms of marketing. As part of the promotion, he has created a website for his film and launched the music on mobile caller tunes and ringtones
Producer Ravi Rai and director Mangesh Hadawale are elated over the box office response to Tingya.
Rai felt the freshness in the story appealed to the audiences. "Whether Marathi or Hindi, people look for fresh stories and ideas. Tingya is not a festival film as it was made out to be earlier. I believe there are only two kinds of films-good and bad," he added.
'Tingya' is releasing in Aurangabad and Napgur on May 2. The Maharashtra State Awards function is being held on April 29 in Aurangabad and the film has been nominated in seven categories.
Hadawale described the commercial success and critical acclaim to the film as a victory of his honesty and belief in himself and his film without making compromises. The director who had to struggle to get a producer for his film was shown the door by over 40 producers before Ravi Rai met him.
"Some producers wanted me to cast Urmila Matondkar as Tingya's mother and insert an item number of Rakhi Sawant in the film which Tingya's father (a farmer) will watch after getting drunk,' Hadawale recalled. But, he stuck to his determination of having local villagers and not professional actors in his film.
Tingya will be the opening film at the Mauritius film festival beginning from May 20. Similarly, it has entered into the Naples film festival in Italy and the Cannes film festival.