A movie’s main job is to touch lives. Cinema is made for the viewers. 

So no matter how great a film is, or what kind of reviews it gets, if the viewers don’t turn up to the hall, it is disappointing. Here are a few such films from the last 3 years which were highly appreciated by the critics, but were beaten at the box office.

1. Sonchiriya

Sonchiriya is a movie a lot of people missed out on, despite it getting good reviews from the critics. The Sushant Singh Rajput and Manoj Bajpayee starrer is a story, set in 1975, about a group of decoits in the Chambal region. 

It even received the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Film in 2020 (along with Anubhav Sinha’s Article 15)

It earned ₹8 crores.

The Quint

2. Photograph

This soft, yet extremely emotional story moves slow. Almost painfully slow. But it’s beautiful.

It’s a story about a photographer trying to look for a girl whose picture he took at the Gateway of India. When he finds her, he asks if she will act like they’re engaged for his grandmother’s happiness. She agrees. There are no big twists and turns in the movie but it is soothing. Also, you should watch it for beautifully shot Mumbai.

It earned ₹5.74 crores.

Empire Online

3. Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota

This is a delightful movie about a man named Surya who doesn’t feel pain (hence the name). But he has a weakness too, which you’ll find out when you watch the movie.  

Now, like any other superhero, this one also has villains to defeat and that villain is Jimmy, whose twin brother is Surya’s friend. There is Supri, too, the love of Surya’s life and a total badass. The movie and its songs, both are entertaining. Meanwhile action reminds you of 80s Bollywood. 

MKDNH is one of the best Hindi movies to be made in the past few years. 

It earned ₹3 crores.


4. October

Laced with intricate details, October is written beautifully by Juhi Chaturvedi. The movie revolves around a woman on the verge of dying and a man who starts loving her after she goes into coma. 

The restlessness, the persistence, the acceptance: October is filled with subtle forms of expression, and it’s a delight to watch.

It earned ₹54 crores

India TV News

5. Laila Majnu

Predictable for obvious reasons, Laila Majnu was still a good watch for the exemplary acting performances by protagonists Tripti Dimri and Avinash Tiwari. 

Avinash, especially, was outstanding in the movie as the heart-broken lover who inches towards madness because he can’t bear the pain of separation. The songs of the movie are magical to say the least. 

It earned ₹2.76 crores.

Gulf News

6. Mulk

A hard-hitting movie based on real-life incidents, Mulk explores the struggles of a Muslim family from Varanasi, after one of its members joins a terrorist organisation.

Mulk was loved by the critics and got great reviews across the board. People appreciated it for its honesty and impeccable courage in showing the truth of a ‘secular India’.

It earned ₹30 crores.

Zee 5

7. Manto

Directed by the very talented Nandita Das, Manto is the biopic of renowned Urdu poet Saadat Hasan Manto, who was known for his bold and straightforward work. 

Despite the movie being widely appreciated for its subject, treatment and acting performances, not many people went to watch it in the theaters. 

It earned ₹4.31 crores.


8. Pataakha

Maybe it isn’t Vishal Bharadwaj’s best work till date, but Pataakha was still a delightful watch which got a lot of appreciation for its metaphors and writing.

However, this take of two sisters, who are always wanting to kill each other, couldn’t pull people to the cinemas.

It earned ₹11.06 crores.

India Today

9. Karwaan

One of Irrfan Khan’s last films, Karwaan is what it is partially because of him. Khan’s dialogue delivery, the famous glances and the body language, make the movie a fun, satisfying watch.

Dulquer Salmaan and Mithila Palkar were also suited for their roles and the music of the film was great.

It earned ₹25.58 crores.

Silicon News

10. Qarib Qarib Singlle

Another Irrfan movie, Qarib Qarib Singlle is a rom-com I seriously wish more people had seen in the theaters. It has the innocence, the fun, the laughter and a very romantic climax.

Also, the casting of the movie was great, with the very talented Parvathy opposite Irrfan.

It earned ₹21.03 crores.

The Wire

11. Trapped

In a truly haunting performance, Rajkummar Rao showed the struggles, fears, anxieties and helplessness of a man stuck in his house without food and water – and with no means to leave the building. 

A method actor, Rajkummar restricted his diet to lose weight and look the part in the movie. 

It earned ₹3.53 crores.


12. A Death in the Gunj

Konkona Sen Sharma’s directorial debut, A Death in the Gunj deals with the internal struggles of a young man, who is alone even when he is with his family. 

Vikrant Massey was outstanding in the movie and so was the rest of the cast, including Gulshan Devaiah, Kalki Koechlin, Tillotama Shome, Om Puri, Tanuja, Jim Sarbh and Ranvir Shorey.

It eared ₹1.37 crores.

India Today

13. Har Kisse Ke Hisse Kaamyaab

The movie based on a character who was a supporting actor in the yesteryear’s Bollywood, is a homage to the cinema of that time in a small way.

It also shows what happens to a man who is an important part of the business but still insignificant. Its business was marred by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. However, it’s important to note tha Baaghi 3, which released in the  same week, earned ₹137.05 crores.

It earned ₹58 lakhs

The Indian Express

14. Mukti Bhawan

An interesting journey of a father and his son to Varanasi, Mukti Bhavan is layered with nuances. The father, played by Lalit Behl wants to go to the holy city because he thinks that is where he will breathe his last (hence the concept of mukti).

But he can’t go alone, so his son Adil Hussain accompanies him. The movie did wonderful business in Japan but didn’t have that many viewers in India.

It earned ₹74 lakhs.

The Week

They deserved better.