With its stress on the spoken word and its unconventional take on love, life and relationship, who would have thought that Dear Zindagi Gauri Shinde’s marvellously unfettered story of a shrink and a girl who is anything but a shrinking violet, would crack the box-office code?

But there you have it. Dear Zindagi has shown a remarkable growth and sustenance at the box-office. According to box-office estimates across the country the film collected approximately Rs.55 crores during the first 5 days of its release. The film was made at a budget of Rs. 33 crores.

Says the director Gauri Shinde, “Whether it was English Vinglish or now Dear Zindagi I am constantly surprised by the reaction to my cinema.”

R. Balki who has co-produced Dear Zindagiwith Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions and Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chiilies says, “ I am really touched by how much Dear Zindagihas connected with people. It’s unbelievable! Hats off Shah Rukh for an incredible performance and producing such an incredibly bold film. Hats off to Karan Johar for seeing the vision so clearly from the beginning. Hats off to Alia Bhatt for hitting it out of the park. Nobody can do what she does. “

Incidentally Balki is also in Dear Zindagi. The proud husband chuckles, “Haha, yes. I am proud of the 2-second thankyou card for lending my voice to a disclaimer. So happy to be a 2-sec part of Gauri Shinde’s classic! I want to thank Gauri for battling it out uncompromisingly through all the ups and downs and still making one of the finest films that has been made.”

Trade analyst Atul Mohan says the success of Dear Zindagi proves the audience will go to a film if they like it, no matter what the financial circumstances. “The success of Dear Zindagi proves that in spite of the demonetization the audience is ready to grab good content. The overall packaging of Dear Zindagi was good enough to attract all. The credit must be given to the marketing and distribution people behind DZ. They knew the potential and target audience of this film.”

Atul feels releasing the film in far less theatres than the usual numbers for a Shah Rukh Khan starrer, helped the box office collections of Dear Zindagi. “Releasing strategically with limited screens – only 1200 screens, not the kind of wide release associated with SRK or Dharma or Red Chillies – across major metros and multiplexes and very select single screens did the trick for the film. The movie was already in the safe zone before release for the makers and the all India distributors should benefit with this strategy.”

Adds Alia Bhatt, “We made the film we wanted to. We were not thinking of box office numbers while shooting. I think that honesty of purpose is what paid off.”