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'Bidya' hits BO bullseye - Calcutta's Kahaani is a word-of-mouth rage

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  • Published 13.03.12

Something Made in Calcutta is the talking point throughout the country. And yes, it has a woman as the hero.

Vidya Balan’s Kahaani — shot in the nooks and corners of the city and starring a host of Tollywood faces — has become the season’s biggest box-office surprise, notching up close to Rs 2 crore in Bengal alone within the first three days of its release. The nationwide weekend collections for Calcutta-turned-Mumbai boy Sujoy Ghosh’s fourth film? Around Rs 13.83 crore.

Second only to Agneepath this year. Mind the budget gap, though: Agneepath Rs 70 crore versus Kahaani Rs 8 crore.

“The Kahaani word-of-mouth rage has gripped the box office,” said an official of Fame Cinemas, about the thriller that traces a pregnant woman’s search for her missing husband, from Thakurpukur to Kumartuli. At Fame South City, business shot up from 47 per cent on Friday to 77 per cent on Saturday to around 90 per cent on Sunday. At INOX Forum, the Kahaani count on Sunday was around 97 per cent.

Kahaani is booming throughout the country. The combination of a taut plot and superb performances has really worked,” said Mumbai-based trade analyst Taran Adarsh.

No wonder Sujoy Ghosh can’t stop smiling. “To be honest, I never expected Kahaani to be so big. I had nothing except an interesting story and great actors and this just proves that a good film always works,” said the director who watched his film with his Calcutta cast and crew at Fame South City on Saturday night and was “overwhelmed” by the response. “The audience was screaming and clapping. It was phenomenal.”

Vidya — or ‘Bidya’ — apart, the Kahaani phenomenon has thrown up another unlikely hero: Monalisa.

The guest house on Sarat Bose Road whose room number 15 played host to a pregnant Vidya Bagchi (Vidya Balan) for several weeks around Puja 2010, has become an instant tourist draw.

“Hundreds of people have been walking in to see where the film was shot. On Friday alone, we had more than 300 people,” said Adhir Sahoo, assistant manager at Monalisa, who managed to catch Kahaani on Sunday night.

The Monalisa managers are patiently attending to the Kahaani crowd at the counter but rejecting all requests for a room number 15 walkthrough. “The Kahaani crew brought in their own furniture and also painted the room,” said Sahoo, allowing Metro a peek on Monday afternoon.

A peek at both plexes and single-screen cinemas reveals a rare box-office feat for a low-budget Bolly-Tolly film. “Even halls like Navina, Menoka and Jaya are sold out. The Kahaani phenomenon is here to stay,” said Pritam Jalan of Kushagra Arts, the regional distributors of the film.

Jalan’s words were echoed by Subhasis Ganguli, regional director of INOX, who seemed sure of the film having “long legs” at the box office.

Thanks to the likes of software professional Ashutosh Chatterjee who has already watched Kahaani twice and denied the likes of June. “I wanted to watch Kahaani on Sunday but couldn’t get tickets,” said the actress.