Growing up, many of us watched "Sivaji the boss" and "madras cut" on the set max with our parents lying in the drawing rooms and laughing our hearts out to their crispy and quicky plots.
But gone are the days when these movies were simply a diversion with some novelty factors. South India has revolutionized the movie industry with massive projects attempted at a pan India audience, with bigger and better elements.
Hindi cinema is now facing stiff competition from dubbed or undubbed Hollywood films and regional content, especially after the pandemic. Bollywood stars working in South Indian films are a relatively new trend gaining traction. Previously, South Indian films were only targeted at their respective regions, but now, filmmakers are aiming for a larger audience.
The big question lies here: Is South Indian cinema taking over Bollywood?
There were only 2 Bollywood and predominantly south cinema in a total of 11 top viewed movies recently. Bollywood's biggest hits were direct remakes or South films' adaptations for a long time. Think of Rohit Shetty and his car-flying brand to get a sense of what we're talking about. Why? Because South cinema possessed a zing that Bollywood wished to emulate but lacked the skills to do so. South cinema is no longer a distant second to Bollywood. It has arrived to take its deserved position.
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Content is king' is something we've heard, and films from the South have a plethora of content with different twists and turn for their audience. That is one area where South cinema has a significant advantage. In particular, Tamil and Telugu cinema do not estrange their audiences. When it comes to audience targeting, they cast an extensive net. They do not make movies for a niche audience. Today the Bollywood movies are fast loosing touch with the common man. Yes the common man feels alienated. Whether it's Telugu films starring Allu Arjun and Prabhas, or Tamil films starring Rajinikanth and Ajith, and others, they're all making films that appeal to a wide range of audiences.
The rise of south Indian cinema began when we started making remakes of it. So that's what we've done for decades. Ravi Teja's Vikramarkudu (2006) became Akshay Kumar's Rowdy Rathore (2012), Ram's Ready (2008)
became Salman Khan's Ready (2011), and Vijay Deverakonda's Arjun Reddy became Shahid Kapoor's Kabir Singh (2019).
After all these super dupers hit remakes, that one film shook the entire Bollywood to the core and won millions of hearts of the audiences. That is the power of S.S. Rajamouli, one of India's most well-known directors, whose Baahubali: The Beginning (2015) warned Bollywood of its impending demise. The success of Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (2017) and KGF: Chapter 1 (2018), a COVID-induced box office revenue lockdown, the emergence of OTT and Bollywood's confused narrative have all contributed to the Southern film industry's rise over the Bollywood.
Before concluding how the south film industry is taking over Bollywood, we talked to a few about what they think about it.
Amit Chauhan, 39, working in the IT sector, says, "South Indian cinema is, without a doubt, superior to Bollywood. That isn't to say that all South Indian films are great or that Bollywood is bad. That only means that South Indian films have given them the ability to attract a large audience and fan base."
"And still, Good Bollywood films cannot captivate their audiences, with stuff where a boy and a girl meet at a cafe, and their love story begins. Bollywood rarely attempts to create something new and unique. However, Bollywood does produce some excellent biopic films." he further added.
Chavi Grover,22, an undergrad student, says, "South Indian films are in high demand in the Hindi-speaking community. People adore South Indian films and often associate them with them more than Mumbai cinema. Bahubali was well-received by the Hindi audience. It is not necessary to remake films to cast Hindi actors. In today's Hindi region, there is a sizable fan base for South Indian celebrities".
In the current time where south directors and actors have made their entry in Bollywood simultaneously, our Bollywood heroes and heroines; Alia Bhatt and Ajay Devgn snatching a small piece of the RRR pie, or even Karan Johar, clearly identifying the potential money-making post-Baahubali 1 and piggybacking as one of the producers for Baahubali 2. It's not a one-way street for anyone.
Thanks to social media and OTT, if our heroes are crossing over in search of greener pastures, the South stars are becoming pan-India stars.