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Made in Rs 75 lakh, this film was a superhit without ever releasing, had no stars, was made to fit songs, saw hit sequel

This film, made in just Rs 75 lakh, became a sleeper hit because of its music, and spawned a sequel too, even though it never released in theatres

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Made in Rs 75 lakh, this film was a superhit without ever releasing, had no stars, was made to fit songs, saw hit sequel
Sahil Chaddha and Veverly in Lal Dupatta Malmal Ka
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    Before the days of OTT boom, box office earnings were the litmus test for any film. How much a film earned at the ticket window in relation to its budget decided its status as a hit or flop. Everything else was secondary. But in 1988 came this one film that became a superhit without ever releasing in theatres. And it was a film made just to use some pre-recorded songs. This is the story of Bollywood’s most unusual hit film.

    The story of Lal Dupatta Malmal Ka

    In 1988, Gulshan Kumar, the owner of T-Series, had recorded a bunch of romantic songs in the voices of the top singers of the day, including Udit Narayan, Anuradha Paudwal, Mohammed Aziz, Pankaj Udhas, and Suresh Wadkar, to record a 10-song album. Majrooh Sultanpuri penned the lyrics while Anand-Milind composed the tunes. The album was so popular that Kumar felt he could capitalise on its success. Thus, he engaged Ranbir Pushp to write a script around those songs. Pretty soon, two newcomers – Sahil Chaddha and Veverly – were cast in the lead roles and a direct-to-home media film titled Lal Dupatta Malmal Ka was filmed. It was directed by Ravinder Peepat.

    Lal Dupatta Malmal Ka had no big stars apart from names like Gulshan Grover and Vijayendra Ghatge in supporting roles. That is why it was made on a shoestring budget of Rs 75 lakh. Yet, just on the basis of its VHS sales, it reportedly earned Rs 2 crore. This encouraged Gulshan Kumar to produce a sequel – Phir Lehraya Lal Dupatta Malmal Ka. This again starred Sahil Chaddha and Veverly, and was released later in 1988. The songs became chartbusters, and the film encouraged Gulshan Kumar to venture into first film song production, and later T-Series into film production itself.

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