They came, they struggled, and then they conquered.
Sleeper hits are strange in a sense, but they have character.
They don't rely on pre-established audiences or big stars (or superheroes) to become successful, but they build reputation and business over time, through positive word-of-mouth feedback.
Looking back, these were six of the best sleeper hits of Bollywood in the last decade.
'Badhaai Ho' (2018)
Amit Sharma's blockbuster family entertainer caught up so well that despite a relatively humble first day collection of Rs. 7cr, it went on to do a massive domestic business of Rs. 136cr.
The movie, starring veterans Surekha Sikri, Gajraj Rao, Neena Gupta, Ayushmann Khurrana and Sanya Malhotra, revolved around an embarrassed middle-aged couple dealing with the aftermath of an unexpected pregnancy.
Andhadhun is the kind of movie which defines its own genre.
Made on a budget of Rs. 30cr, Sriram Raghavan's thriller was marred by a slow box-office start. It collected just Rs. 2.5cr on day one. However, good word-of-mouth spread and it earned a lifetime domestic collection of about Rs. 75cr.
And, it won 3 National Awards, including Best Actor award for Ayushmann Khurrana.
Based on a true events-inspired spy thriller novel by Harinder Sikka, Raazi brought to us the genius of Meghna Gulzar (Talvar), one of Alia Bhatt's best performances ever, and a gripping tale of a young woman spy's stint in Pakistan.
The movie that opened with a Rs. 7cr box-office collection, ultimately garnered over Rs. 120cr by the end of its theatrical run.
A strikingly unconventional Bollywood outing and a typical Shoojit Sircar-style slice-of-life drama, Piku remains the best Deepika Padukone-led film till date.
The movie, also starring two of industry's finest actors Irrfan Khan and Amitabh Bachchan, opened at just Rs. 5cr at the box office. But it eventually turned out to be a hit, with a lifetime domestic collection of around Rs. 80cr.
Queen was the movie that established Kangana Ranaut as an actor who could carry a film on her shoulders with much ease and grace.
Directed by Vikas Bahl, the movie followed the peculiar story of a naive Punjabi girl from Delhi embarking on her honeymoon to Europe, all by herself.
Opening with less than Rs. 2cr on day one, Queen eventually grossed Rs. 60cr.
'Vicky Donor' (2012)
If this list proves one point, it's that Ayushmann Khurrana is the undisputed king of sleeper hits.
Khurrana's Bollywood debut Vicky Donor, mounted merely Rs. 5cr on its first day of release. However, the movie's impressive performances and formidable entertainment quotient hiked up its box-office collection to more than Rs. 40cr.
The Shoojit Sircar-directorial also starred Yami Gautam and Annu Kapoor.