South Indian Cinema gets bigger than Bollywood

Last Updated: Tue, Apr 25, 2017 11:05 hrs

People outside India still think that Bollywood alone makes movies in our country but if we look at the history, regional cinema has equally contributed to the business and artistic achievements of Indian film industry.

Baahubali is the biggest grosser in Indian film history, it surpassed Bollywood’s highest earner PK starring Aamir Khan.

Baahubali is also one of the highest collected Indian movies in overseas markets that even some of the Hindi movies starring leading stars couldn’t achieve the box office status of the period war saga. Now all eyes on the second part of Baahubali, which is said to have done a record breaking pre-release business in India and overseas.

Before Baahubali, it was Rajinikanth’s Endhiran, which stunned trade pundits that they started seeing the actor as a box office demigod. Expectations are skyrocketing for ‘2.O’, the sequel of Endhiran, which also has Bollywood’s leading actor Akshay Kumar in an important role.

Not just Baahubali and Endhiran, South Indian films have been producing some of the biggest films in Indian cinema both in terms of budget and box office collection. Even during the initial days of movies in India, SS Vasan (Gemini Studios) produced and directed Chandralekha, the most expensive film of that time.

According to Federation Of India Chamber Of Commerce & Industry’s report in 2014, 287 and 257  Tamil and Telugu movies were produced in the particular financial year compared to 216 Hindi movies. Point to be noted here is we haven’t added Malayalam and Kannada movies, especially the former producing some of the finest films in modern Indian cinema and they are slowly attracting non-Malayalam speaking multiplex audiences. According to producers of Malayalam film, ‘Randamoozham’ (based on Mahabharata) starring Malayalam Superstar Mohanlal will be made at a humongous budget of 1000cr thus making it as the costliest movie ever made in India.

Apart from their direct contribution, several South Indian movies were also remade in Bollywood and attained phenomenal success. Though many Hindi movies were remade in South Indian languages, the remake rate has been drastically reduced in recent times whereas Bollywood stars including Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar are still showing interest in remaking successful regional movies.

Wanted, Body Guard, Kick, Rowdy Rathore, Holiday were some of the remake movies starring Salman and Akshay in late 2000’s. Sources say that Akshay is in talks with AR Murugadoss and Lyca for the possible remake of Ilayathalapathy Vijay’s Kaththi in Hindi.

Generally, dubbed Tamil films enjoyed a good run in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, and Karnataka. Now South Indian cinema gets even bigger as Telugu stars are also eyeing the potential Tamil market.

Baahubali 2 starring Telugu hero Prabhas will have two weeks free run in Tamil Nadu with no big opposition, which is a rarity in the crowded Kollywood market.

After Prabhas, Telugu Cinema’s Prince Mahesh Babu's Spyder is being made as a Tamil-Telugu bilingual. There is a huge demand for the Tamil Nadu theatrical rights of Spyder, thanks to the popularity of the film’s director AR Murugadoss and also, Mahesh Babu enjoys good fan base in Chennai.

Allu Arjun has also signed a Tamil biggie with director Lingusamy and Jr NTR is also said to be planning to soon make his debut in Tamil.

Going by the current trend, there is a bright chance for South Indian films to even surpass Bollywood and all they want to do is to unify all the four industries, aim simultaneous release and apt promotional strategies. To be precise, South Film Industry needs more Baahubali and Endhiran along with content driven films to make it to the top.

- Rajasekar S