Top 10 Flop Bollywood Films Which Attained Cult Status!

Bollywood churns out hundreds of films every year. Some of these films make money at the box office, while others fail to draw audiences to theaters. But there are some films which are above their box office fate. Here we are talking about those movies which did not earn big moolah at the ticket window at the time of their release, but went onto attain a cult status over the years. We have listed down here top ten flop Bollywood films which attained cult status years after their release.


10SWADES (2004)

Like most of the movies mentioned in our list of top ten flop Bollywood films which attained cult status over the years, ‘Swades’ too did not receive the kind of love it finds nowadays. Starring superstar Shah Rukh Khan and debutante Gayatri Joshi, the Ashutosh Gowariker directorial was released with much fanfare but, unfortunately, it could not amass much love and appreciation from the audience and critics and hence failed at the box office. Nevertheless, the movie found a new lease of life on television. After its theatrical release on 17th December, 2004, ‘Swades’ has seen many repeats on several movie channels and garnered huge TRPs for broadcasters. Today, it is considered one of the best films of Shah Rukh Khan’s career and has achieved a cult status over the years.

There were numerous factors which led to the dismal performances of the film at the box office. First of all was its unbearable length. The film was almost three hours long. After 2000’s multiplex culture was gaining momentum in India and audience was looking for films which were short and entertaining. ‘Swades’ failed at both parameters. Neither it was short nor was it thoroughly entertaining like regular masala potboilers of Bollywood. It was a film with a niche audience appeal.

Another reason behind its failure was the image Shah Rukh Khan carries as a superstar. A generation of cinema going audience has seen SRK as a romantic star. Another avatar of him the audience had familiarity with was his villainous avatar. But in ‘Swades’, Khan was seen in a totally different role. Here, he plays a scientist who works as a project manager at NASA in the United States before returning to his village and working for the elevation of his villagers. There was romance, but in bits and parts. In absence of a proper does of romance followed by an overstretched plot, the audience kept itself away from the film. However, it worked well with the TV audience because of being trimmed accordingly before its premiere on TV.

TRIVIA: The makers originally wanted Hrithik Roshan to play the lead role but after his rejection it went to superstar Shah Rukh Khan.



  1. Dear Mohnish,
    Brilliant analysis. Unfortunately these masterpieces did not do great at the box office but they have been crafted by heart and soul by their makers.
    Good job Mohnish, Keep it up.

  2. Are u mad Agneepath made on a lavish budget 28.5 crs ? Till 1993 biggest budget was ROOP KI RANI CHORON KI RAJA an that was 9 crs. Agneepath was made at 6 crs and it was avg movie. Jyst because Amitabh was duped in bofors case , media tried to tag it as flop,.

  3. Waheeda Rahman did not play Guru Dutts wife. She never married or even have an affair with the hero. The relationship was distant but electric.

  4. you missed out many other movies in this list. A few of theese movies dont deserve to be in here. Movies like –

  5. Why do journalists, who have neither watched the classics (or cults in this case) nor were born when the movies being referred to were released, attempt to write such a critical article?

    Some gems, referring to Shaan as a flop and as a cult is nothing but a joke. Shaan, being the next ultra large budget film from the Sippy family after Sholay, had humungous expectations. Of course it didn’t meet Sholay’s superlative stardom, but compared to the films of those times (1980s), it was a major commercial success.

    Let’s take another example, Agneepath. Johar Sr made this garbage of a film, certainly one of the horrific films from Bachchan in that period. Watching it even today gives you the shock on how nonsensical the film was. And yeah, the National award. Just goes to prove how the national awards too can be manipulated.

    Let’s move on. Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron? Commercial flop???? Wake up dear critic. It was a super duper hit in 1984. For that genre of film, with those genre of actors (budding and promising pass-outs mostly from FTII), the film generated stupendous returns on investment. Success of film is not measured on the money made by the film, but on the profit percentage the film makes. And Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron made massive profits.

    I can rip apart a few other examples given by the respected critic. But I shall not go on further. I believe that my point is made. Rookie critics must refrain from trying to pretend to know the films and their context by penning such pieces. Pieces that can be ripped apart by anyone double their age and having watched more than double the films, especially the films being referred to on first day first show.


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