"I've seen the film myself with the audience, and it has put my fears to rest" said Mohit Suri after seeing two shows back to back in Mumbai's Galaxy cinema. The manner in which Mohit communicated his verdict to all of us brought the rays of hope back to us and lifted our somber mood. As the day deepened, reports from various states of India reached us through phone calls and sms's. One thing was clear: Awarapan was being liked by the consumer.
As night descended and Awarapan's first day in theatres was coming to an end my writer Shagufta Rafique and my director Mohit Suri, sat riveted in front of the television set sampling audience responses and bracing themselves for the critical analysis of Awarapan. Film bashing has always been a lucrative business and a tool of power. The capacity of a critic to hurt and wound the vanity of the entertainer ironically contributes to him being cultivated by the who's who of the trade in order to get a favorable review whenever their film releases. Most of us in Bollywood, by now know that a film critic is like a billboard that you can "buy" for love or for money to get the kind of review you hope. Finally, it was time for us to part. I could see that Mohit Suri the director was sinking deep into a quagmire of depression. The gap between what the heart longs for and the hand life deals you has always been unbridgeable. I could see that he was angry that the film had been released with two other films, but then such is life. Nobody expected, least of all Mohit Suri, that Himesh Reshammiya would steal the thunder of both, the Deols as well as Emraan Hashmi.
The next morning when the heavens came down and incessant rain lashed down on Mumbai I woke up and discovered that although the critics had not raved about Awarapan, they had unanimously raved about the birth of an actor called Emraan Hashmi. Emraan had succeeded in demolishing his 'Serial Kisser' image, and making his presence felt to his worst detractors. "This is a triumph for you Mohit and for us," I said playing the role of a leader to lift the sagging morale of my demoralized unit. Despite heavy rainfall, Awarapan held on and the collections at places began to climb.
As the curtains come down on the second day of Awarapan in theaters and its fate at the box office is still unclear. I'm beginning to see one undeniable truth - that no matter how hard you try it is finally word of mouth that makes or breaks a film and not the critics or your advertising budget. The truth of Emraan's performance was outshining the lie of the Aap Ka Suroor marketing team. If lie can supercede the truth then I want to scream "Hey, stop the world. I want to get off!"