Marathi Cinema is sometimes overlooked, when compared to Bollywood because of the sheet products being made from the latter industry. However, it has also shown a lot of maturity in its content and the variety of entertainment that it presents to the viewers. And some of the best movies of the decade have come from this industry, again proving that regional language movies have a more artistic freedom than the mainstream movie industry. Slowly, as the audience gets more adventurous with their tastes, they’re making sure to watch the overlooked gems as well.
Here are the highest grossing Marathi movies:
Directed by Nagraj Manjule, and starring relative newcomers Rinku Rajguru and Akash Thosar, Sairat was a hard hitting exploration of how casteism destroys lives of people and those in love. The tale of two college students who fall in love, but have to face the evils of the society was an important look into the darkest nature of our country. People didn’t have any big expectations from the movie, but it got universal acclaim from critics, and was strengthened by the support of the public. At the end, Sairat grossed 110 crores with a budget of only 4 crores, thus coming out as one of the most successful movies of the decade. Rinku Rajguru was awarded a special mention from the Nation Awards jury for her performance.
Sachin: A Billion Dreams, 2017
This documentary based on the life and sports career of legendary Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar was written and directed by James Erskine. The film was shot in different languages; Hindi, Marathi and English. The music was composed by AR Rahman, with lyrics from Irshad Kamil. And just like Sanchin Tendulkar, the movie was embraced by the public; it grossed 76 crores at the box office, making it one of the most profitable documentaries in India.
This heart wrenching story of a stage actor, who can’t let go of his memories after retiring was directed by actor-director Mahesh Manjrekar with Nana Patekar in the lead role. The critics lauded Natsamrat’s attempts to show the reality of theater actors and ageing. Surprisingly, the audience accepted the movie with both arms, as it grossed over 50 crores at the box office, making it the highest grossing Marathi movie ever, until Sairat arrived later.
Katyar Kaljat Ghusali, 2015
Based on the play of the same name, Katyar Kaljat Ghusali was directed by Subodh Bhave and starred Sachin Pilgaonkar, Shankar Mahadevan in the lead role. The plot of the movie concerned the musical competition between Khansaheb Aftab (Pilgoankar) and Pandit Bhanu (Mahadevan). The movie was a box office success, and raked 40 crores at the box office. Mahesh Kale won the National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for the movie.
Timepass 2, 2015
This love story about two childhood lovers, Dagadu and Parju who reunite 15 years later and try to sort their feelings for each other was directed and written by Ravi Jadhav. Priyadarshan Jadhav and Priya Bapat played the lead roles in the movie. Timepass 2 was a sequel to Timepass, that was released in 2014. The audience loved the romantic arc of the characters and the humor of the story. It grossed 40 crores at the box office.
Lai Bhaari, 2014
Starring Riteish Deshmukh, Lai Bhaari was an action drama that was loved by the audience for its masala entertainment content. The story for the movie was provided by Sajid Nadiadwala, and it also had cameo appearances by Salman Khan and Deshmukh’s real life partner, Genelia D’souza. Lai Bhaari grossed 40 crores at the box office, and got the tag of a super-hit.
A 90s set love story between two children, Dagadu and Praju, Timepass was an instant hit among the audience. Directed by Ravi Jadhav and starring Prathamesh Parab and Ketaki Mategaonkar, it became the highest grossing Marathi movie upon release, with a collection of 33 crores at the box office, and leading to a sequel next year.
A mature story about a man named Shreyas who has a complicated relationship with his parents, and who finds love with a girl named Shirin won critical acclaim and the love of people on its release. Duniyadari was directed by Sanjay Jadhav and starred Swapnil Joshi and Urmila Kantikar in the lead roles. It made 30 crores at the B.O because of word of mouth by the audience.
Mi Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy, 2009
Directed by Mahesh Manjrekar, and starring him and Sachin Khedekar, Mi Shivajiraje Bhosali Boltoy was the story of Dinkar Maruti Bhosale a man who is bullied by the society, until he decides to fight back against this mistreatment. The movie was a remake of Bengali movie, Ami Shubash Bolchi, but it was still well liked by the audience. It grossed 25.5 crores at the box office.
A critically acclaimed comedy drama, directed by Rajesh Mapuskar, that won three Nation awards; for direction, editing and sound mixing, Ventilator was the story of Kamerkar family, whose eldest members falls into a coma just before the Ganesh Chathurthi celebrations. Featuring a cast of 100 actors, Ventilator was an instant hit among the critics for its handling of heavy subject matter and technical aspects. The movie was also financially successful, making 25 crores at the box office.