Is Southern Cinema the New Bollywood?

When did Salman Khan really become the bhaijaan of Bollywood? Well it wasn’t Ek Tha Tiger or Dabangg. It was Wanted. The 2009 release, a remake of the Telugu film Pokiri (2006), starring Mahesh Babu, catapulted him to superstar rank. For a very long time, Bollywood’s most masked offerings were either direct remakes or inspired by Southern cinema. Think about Rohit Shetty and his brand of flying cars, and you’ll know what we mean. Why? Because southern cinema had a zing that Bollywood wanted to achieve but didn’t know how. But, all that has changed now. For cinema from the South, it’s over to be second behind Bollywood. He is there to claim his throne.


We have known since the time of William Shakespeare that “imitation is the best form of flattery.” So, for decades now, this is the path we have taken. Vikramarkudu (2006) by Ravi Teja became Rowdy Rathore by Akshay Kumar (2012), Ram’s Ready (2008) became Ready by Salman Khan (2011), or the very controversial Arjun Reddy by Vijay Deverakonda became Kabir Singh by Shahid Kapoor (2019). But now OTT has exploded in our living rooms. And therefore, we can watch a KGF Chapter 1 here – where you read this article. And suddenly, the “remakes” didn’t make sense anymore.

Now there has always been a market for Southern cinema outside of South India. Growing up, many of us spent our Sundays watching ‘Madras Cut’ movies on Set Max in our living rooms. Dubbed in Hindi, of course. By tapping directly into this market, filmmakers from the South have decided to release their films in several languages ​​simultaneously. Once again, the “remakes” no longer made sense. So if Southern Cinema does what it does best, and there is no longer any Hindi language barrier or Hindi supremacy separating us, what is stopping us from reaching the makkhan, avoiding margarine?

Nothing. Truly. And the resounding success of Pushpa from Allu Arjun and Jai Bheem from Suriya before that – to name a few – just repeats it. “What happened with Pushpa was long overdue. Phenomenal content is being produced in the South when it comes to cutting edge storytelling coupled with a high degree of technology. [But], many films that deserved to be released in theaters [nationwide] went straight to satellite, which in my opinion was undermining the North Indian market for these films, ”begins cinema operator Akshaye Rathi.


“Content is king” is something we’ve heard more frequently than “Winter is Coming” in all 8 seasons of Game of Thrones. But the content doesn’t come on a tank with increasing background sound. He must be identified and adorned appropriately so that the aam janta can see him as king. This is an aspect on which the cinema of the South has a head start. “Tamil and Telugu cinema in particular, do not alienate their audiences. They cast a very wide net when it comes to targeting an audience base. You will never see a film from the South, featuring superstars, Designed for a niche audience. Hindi cinema has been doing this for quite some time, which is why the lowest common denominator – aam aadmi – feels alienated. Whether you watch Telugu movies with Allu Arjun, Prabhas, Mahesh Babu, Jr NTR or Ram Charan, or Tamil movies starring superstar Rajinikanth, Thalapathi Vijay, Ajith or others – they all make movies that are for everyone, ”Akshaye adds. agrees and adds: “Bollywood has made movies for multiplex audiences, nothing wrong with that, but we forget the single screens, the mass belt, the heart. Hence, they turn to South Indian movies. “

Where does that leave our Bollywood superstar? At the risk of ruffling feathers – playing the second violin of the giants of the south! You see an Alia Bhatt and Ajay Devgn biting off a little piece of the RRR pie, or even a Karan Johar, clearly identifying the money-making potential after Baahubali 1, overlapping as one of the producers of Baahubali 2.

It’s not just a one-way street. If our heroes cross the road in search of greener pastures, the stars of the South, now increasingly popular thanks to social networks and OTT, become pan-Indian stars. And demand the money corresponding to that nickname. After Baahubali, Prabhas increased his price and now charges Rs 150 crore for his next one with Sandeep Reddy Vanga. This, despite the fact that his last, Saaho, was a dud.


Will the cinema of the South overtake Bollywood? Akshaye Rathi both agree and disagree, and speaks of a new era of “Indian cinema”, rather than Bollywood or regional. “Audience leans towards paisa wasool entertainment. They ask to bring people to theaters, it’s huge because they are spoiled for choice at home, thanks to OTT. We’re going from Hindi, Marathi film , Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Bhojpuri fraternities at Indian Film Brotherhood. So while we hope to see more movies like Pushpa succeed nationally, we also hope movies like 83 and Brahmastra do better in the South ” , he adds.

Taran Adarsh ​​says it simply. “Wake up and smell the coffee,” he concludes to Bollywood producers. Give them what they want, or they will look elsewhere. Sounds fair, right?

READ ALSO | Pushpa the Rise movie review: it’s Allu Arjun’s show to the end

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