What made Sairat a sleeper hit? Remembering the Blockbuster as it Turns 2

You must be living under a rock or preparing diligently for competitive exams if you’ve not heard of Sairat before. This is one surprise movie that despite dealing with a cliché subject turned out to be a sleeper hit.

A movie that put Bollywood romantic flicks to shame with its frothy innocence and realistic set-up, Sairat is turning 2 on April 29 and we still cannot stop speculating how it sent shockwaves in the film industry. Let’s revisit the highest-grossing Marathi movie and delve deeper into its success story.

Sairat was a low-budget Marathi movie directed by Nagraj Manjule and had two amateurs – Akash Thosar and Rinku Rajguru – playing the lead. It was a complex love story where two people from different castes and class fall in love (girl hailing from a wealthy upper caste family), only to face hurdles from their families

However cliché it sounds, the film went on to rule the box office and saw an overwhelming response for the innocence these newcomers brought to the screen, depiction of an eccentric badass actress who – unlike other love stories – wasn’t chased frantically by the hero and instead fought everyone who dared touch her lover, and the suspense whether the director was chasing the cliché social issues or challenging them. The intriguing plot and the message it carried clung on to the viewers’ mind and heart long after.

While the other movies don’t dare to dig deeper into the caste system that is still prevalent in many parts of our nation, this film went all out with the issue and left the viewers gobsmacked seeing the risk the director took. The social issue relating to class difference is yet another sensitive topic Manjule dared to portray in his film and in a very relatable manner.

Coming to the story, the plot unfolds beautifully, eventually changing track from a slow-mo romantic tale to a struggling couple in love, who face challenging times yet stick together till the end when they lose their life to honour killing. This was a shocking and disturbing moment that left the viewers dumbfounded.

What is interesting to note is the fact that as soon as the viewers found the narrative moving to predictability, it suddenly jolted them to reality. Perhaps, it was this deliberate playfulness of the plot that secured it a place in everyone’s heart. Here’s a happy 2nd anniversary to Sairat!