The recent years might have declared the rom-com genre unfit for the big-screen experience but Laxman Utekar’s Zara Hatke Zara Bachke’s (ZHZB) opening numbers paint an optimistic picture. The Vicky Kaushal-Sara Ali Khan-starrer released on June 2 and made Rs. 5.49 crores on the first day, according to Hindustan Times. The film earned Rs. 7.2 crores on Saturday and Rs. 9.9 crores on Sunday, totalling its first-weekend earnings to Rs. 22.59 crores. The film is set in Indore and stars Kaushal and Khan as a happily-married couple who, in order to score a flat in a government housing scheme, decide to get divorced.
Film exhibitor Akshaye Rathi called the film’s success “a comeback” for mid-segment films. “That’s great for the business because the tentpoles that come in a year are limited. Between them, you need these kinds of films to come in and do business for the entire value chain, for the entire ecosystem to continue sustaining,” he said.
ZHZB’s upward graph could signal that word-of-mouth is on its side, especially given the film’s mass appeal. “It’s a film that’s very relatable to the common Indian,” said Rathi. Although there seems to be a certain fatigue around Hindi cinema’s small-town films – a concept that began as an earnest portrayal of a largely-sidelined demographic with Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015) but quickly became formulaic – ZHZB’s numbers are encouraging. “Unlike many other films in this genre, the humour of the film is not at the cost of the Indian ethos – it’s situational humour set in the Indian ethos,” said Rathi.
Some may have expected a film headlined by Kaushal and Khan to do better, given their fan following, but Rathi said that in Hindi cinema, stars aren’t always crowd-pullers. “The number of bankable box-office stars that we have in the country can be counted on (one hand),” he said. “So we need more actors like Vicky Kaushal, Ayushmann Khurrana, Karthik Aaryan, Varun Dhawan and many others to be a part of tales that can be very entertaining and that can bring people to theatres.”