Why didn't his strategy work at the box office this time?
No one expected Aamir Khan's new film, Secret Superstar, to be the next ₹100 crore film. Yet, the movie does not meet the expectations one had from it.
Secret Superstar was expected to do the kind of business that Aamir's last film on similar lines, Taare Zameen Par (₹60 crore), did.
Taare Zameen Par released way back in 2008 and hence, in real value (after accounting for inflation), that figure would be much higher.
Secret Superstar was released at 1,750 screens, which had many shows everyday, and one did expect the big bucks to rain down. But that did not happen.
On the contrary, the decision to release in so many screens backfired.
Releasing a film on Diwali -- which fell on a Thursday this year -- is always a bad decision.
One wonders how Aamir Khan, who is known for his strong business acumen, chose the dullest day of the year to bring his film to the theatres.
During Diwali, people spend time with family and friends and, in the evenings, many theatres are closed. This left half a day for Secret Superstar to bring in any sort of audience.
The result was average, with just ₹4.80 crore coming in.
Yes, the film was critically acclaimed. But that is not what audiences look for during Diwali. They just want entertainment.
Secret Superstar, on the other hand, was never a massy film.
As a matter of fact, it was a bit of a turn-off at many points, especially the domestic abuse scenes.
This is the same problem that Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor's Kyon Ki... had faced in 2005. It was a good movie but saw a bad release.
Director Priyadarshan ironically had two releases the same day and both films were a contrast to each other.
The other release was his fun film, Garam Masala (Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal and John Abraham). Audiences chose humour over depression, and Kyon Ki... tanked at the box office.
Thankfully, Secret Superstar has not been totally ignored because it does have its euphoric elements.
It's a film for a niche audience, one that would probably find more success on television, Netflix or Amazon Prime.
The other Diwali release, Golmaal Again, did such great business that, eventually, an additional share of screens had go to the Ajay Devgn-Rohit Shetty comic caper.
Secret Superstar will not just do lesser business than Taare Zameen Par, it will just about manage to come close to Aamir Khan's other home production, Delhi Belly (₹52 crore) while doing much better than Dhobi Ghat (₹14 crore).
To see if Aamir's golden run since Ghajini (Dangal, PK, Dhoom: 3, Talaash, 3 Idiots) continues, one will have to wait for his Thugs of Hindostan next Diwali.