Is South predominating Bollywood?

South movies have successfully mounted their audiences in the Hindi belt as well.

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Insight Bureau:  South Indian movies are not only striking audiences in their regional markets but also having a victorious run in theatres all across the country. South movies have successfully mounted their audiences in the Hindi belt as well. This trend of regional movies working pan India has seen an upward trend after theatres reopened in October following a nationwide lockdown due to coronavirus. From Puspha to RRR and now the release of Vijay’s Beast and Yash’s KGF Chapter 2 has mark an remarkable impression in theatres than any recent Bollywood films.

Film trade analyst Taran Adarsh believes the credit for the success of regional cinema goes to the ‘wholesome entertainment’ that they provide. Commenting on the trend of south films dominating the box office, he asserted, “These films offer wholesome entertainment and at the same time, they are pushing the envelope.”

IS BOLLYWOOD CONTENT FAILING TO ATTRACT MASS ?

In the era of OTT and social media, content is the king and a films or web series with enchanting content receive enormous admiration with no barriers when it comes to entertainment. Now with powerful content and storyline of the south movies, it seems like the South film Industry will soon overpower Bollywood.

Undoubtedly,  South cinema offers unique medium of storytelling and their films are made with the idea of catering to a large audience.

It’s not just the content, even the leading actors choose films which connect with everyone. Be it Telugu stars like Allu Arjun, Prabhas, Mahesh Babu, Jr NTR and Ram Charan, or Tamil actors like Superstar Rajinikanth, Thalapathi Vijay and Ajith people from diverse backgrounds love them. Now with increased popularity over social media and OTT, South actors are becoming pan-India stars. After all, what actually matters to the audience is pure entertainment. So at the end of the day, it’s not about overtaking, it’s about content.

HAS BOLLYWOOD NEGLETED THE MASS MARKET ?

Taran Adarsh agreed about Bollywood neglecting mass market and said, “Hindi films are not interested beyond the Bandra to Versova crowd. What about the rest of India? What happens to those who are thirsting for wholesome entertainment? It is high time that Bollywood people wake up.”

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The trade expert feels the country still has takers for ‘larger than life films’ if they are given “the right emotion and story.”

Apart from Taran Adarsh, trade expert Ramesh Bala also believes Bollywood has neglected the mass market and that the reason why there is a sudden demand for South content. He said, “In the last few years, Bollywood has neglected the mass market. Films starring Rajkummar Rao, Ayushmann Khurrana, etc. are not going to catch interest in the heartland of India. Mass movies definitely do well, but today, how many stars are not doing mass films? Even Akshay Kumar has switched to films with social messages and comedy genre. Comparing Pushpa, it has item song, glamour and action. Aamir Khan’s films are too classy. Salman Khan movies also have a pull for the masses. So only a few stars cater to that market.”

He continued, “Whereas South stars invariably cater to all the markets. A star in the South can’t do a film like Toilet Ek Prem Katha, they have to do films like Beast, Bigil or a Pushpa, which have a wider reach. Single screen exhibitors are saying Bollywood has forgotten us. They are making movies for multiplexes now. So, to cater to the pan-Indian audiences, one needs to have a mass film.”

Blockbuster films like Wanted and Kabir Singh are also the remake of South films.  And, it’s been quite some time since Bollywood’s biggest hits proved to be direct remakes of South films or inspired by them.

Echoing a similar sentiment, film trade analyst Akshaye Rathi said, “The Hindi film fraternity really needs to pull up its socks so that the largest potential audience is not intellectually alienated.” He strongly believes that Hindi filmmakers, who have earlier delivered mega-blockbusters such as Sooryavanshi, Tiger Zinda Hai, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Dangal, have the potential to create cinema for the audience across the nation.

Comparing 83 and Pushpa, Kabir Khan’s 83,which is about India’s historic win at the 1983 cricket World Cup which  starred Bollywood biggies Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone, faded away competing South movie Pushpa: The Rise in the box-office race. The Telugu film was never considered to be a competition for 83 which was expected to set the box-office on fire.

Even taking about Shahid Kapoor’s Jersey which itself is a Hindi remake of the Telugu film by the same title, was supposed to release on April 14 in collision with KGF: Chapter 2. However, the makers decided to postpone the release in order to avoid a clash with the Kannada film which has been promoted as a pan-India film that released in five languages on the same day. The anticipation for KGF 2 was such huge that the at the first day itself minted the box office with Rs 134.5 crore in India. Though Shahid Kapoor is one of the established star from Bollywood, with his previous movie Kabir Singh, also an adaptation of a Telugu film, Arjun Reddy, earned a wholesome amount over Rs 370 crore. However, this showed that the Hindi film industry will have to contend with competition from the south Indian film industries in their own market.

Post pandemic, Allu Arjun’s Pushpa: The Rise minted Rs 108.26 crore (Hindi version), without any promotion. Later, SS Rajamouli’s RRR took the box office by storm and earned Rs 240.79 crore (Hindi version) and over Rs 1000 crore worldwide. KGF 2 has started its journey at the box office on a high note with the Rs 219.56 crore (Hindi Version) in just 5 days.

With collaborations and alliances across the film industries becoming common, and the allure of capturing an audience across states, the pan-India film is here to attract masses and to receive a healthy box office. As per that context, it appears as if the south Indian industries have a clear edge over Bollywood.

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