LET’S be honest, not every Hindi filmmaker understands what the viewers are interested in. And not every South film is a blockbuster. This explains why not every actor has managed to deliver a film that works in consonance with the audiences’ tastes and preferences. The year 2023 may have kicked off on a positive note with Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan collecting Rs 100 crore on the day of the release and emerging as the highest-grossing (Rs 1050.3 crore) Bollywood film – both in India and overseas market. But moviegoers have shunned cinema halls due to a mediocre movies line-up in the past few months. So yes, the underperformance of Hindi films (barring Tu Jhooti Mai Makkar, Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan and The Kerala Story) and a lower number of Hollywood releases, led to the reduced frequency of theatre visits by cinephiles.
But director Om Raut’s Adipurush, based on the mythological Ramayan is all set to have a blockbuster opening on June 16. Going by the latest advance booking numbers for the film, it has already sold over 4.7 lakh tickets for its weekend shows. With such an extraordinary response, trade analyst Taran Adarsh has also confirmed that the film will result in box office ‘tsunami’.
So what makes this film a huge success? The story? Yes! The director. Yes! The pairing of Bollywood actor Kriti Sanon and Prabhas who isn’t just a popular actor, but also a superstar and most importantly pan-India actor? Definitely, yes!
Following the success of Baahubali, the viewers envision Prabhas either as Baahubali or someone as grand as him. And playing Lord Ram on Om’s lavish canvas will help the film get instant love and appreciation. But can the spurt in movies that explore collaboration between Bollywood and South cinema be impactful and further set the cash registers ringing at the box office? Screenbox gets you the answer.
Establish Stronger Connect With Viewers
Hindi-language viewers find South Indian content relatable because it is a larger-than-life show that is further delivered at a greater pitch. The pre-teaser of Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s Animal could establish a connect with the viewers because it features Ranbir Kapoor in a never-seen-before avatar. Ranbir walks into a room in a white dhoti, as masked men gather around him. Just when a dramatic Punjabi song in the background starts playing, the actor takes out an axe and starts killing people like a monster. With such an impactful teaser, many are expecting the movie to change Bollywood’s destiny.
Films like Baahubali: The Beginning, Baahubali: The Conclusion, Robot 2.0, KGF: Chapter 1, Saaho, Pushpa: The Rise, RRR, KGF: Chapter 2 and Kantara weren’t successful in their respective film industries, but also on a pan-India level. Why? Because these projects established a better connect with the viewers by offering them a larger-than-life entertainment-driven movies.
This translates into massive box office success. Shockingly, Bollywood is either busy making films to please critics or catering to limited viewers. But a collaboration between Hindi and South film industries will have movies being released in more languages, thus catering to a wider audiences.
Offer Double Dose Of Entertainment
Making films that cater to the viewers across a country which is both big and diverse isn’t easy. But when stars from two different film industries collaborate, you are presented a wholesome film that can leave fans thoroughly entertained. Down South, the viewers expect the actors to use the big screen to offer a glimpse of what they themselves might never attain in life. They feel a sense of empowerment when an actor who looks like them is successful at pulling off extra-human tricks on the big screen. It is this attitude in the hero of South films that works.
This year, superstar Vijay Sethupati is expected to appear in three Hindi films including Santosh Sivan’s Mumbaikar, Sriram Raghavan’s Merry Christmas and Atlee’s Jawan starring Shah Rukh. Besides Vijay, who plays a negative role in Jawan, Southern star Nayanthara too has a crucial role.
Content Is The King
Only content matters. A big budget film with a big star and high production values might sound impressive, but the viewers will reject it if they think the content is inconsequential. Agreed, people watch films because of the star power. But they are now more aware & quick to dismiss films even before the media reviews are out.
2022 too was a dismal year for Hindi cinema with several popular star-led films finding very less takers. But South films did well across India, courtesy Rajamouli’s RRR, Rishabh Shetty’s Kantara and Yash’s KGF that set the Box Office on fire.
According to a media report, in 2022, the number of movies that crossed the ₹100 crore BO mark rose to 22. Half of these were South films, while only 8 were Hindi films. Of the 8 Hindi films, only 2 were dubbed versions of South movies.
That’s not all. The Hindi dubbed versions of southern films like ‘RRR’, ‘Kantara’ and ‘KGF: Chapter 2’ continue to be lauded by Hindi speaking viewers even though ‘Pathaan’ and ‘Brahmastra: Part One-Shiva’ struggled to get any viewers in southern states with their dubbed versions. This explains how South films have found viewers in the Hindi belt, and Bollywood has failed dismally in penetrating the Tamil or Telugu-speaking markets.
In 2020, the global pandemic and the forced lockdown impacted not just the theatrical releases and production shoots, but also the pattern in which the viewers consumed entertainment. While there was a clear decline in traditional TV, magazines and newspapers, the pandemic came across as the blessing for OTT platforms. There was a significant shift from ‘Let’s book the first day, first show ticket’ to ‘What’s new on Netflix?’ The popularity of Squid Game and Money Heist further strengthened the rise of OTT and explained how language could no longer be the barrier in selling international content. Similarly, homegrown OTT players offering TV shows, web series and reality shows that too in multiple regional languages convinced the viewers that the regional consumption will only boom further.
OTT not just saved South cinema but also helped stars like Fahaadh Faasil, Sai Pallavi, Allu Arjun and Suriya break the limits of regional cinema and earn massive recognition and love up North. Since original content was the deciding factor in attaining new subscribers, regional content offering progressive and realistic stories played a crucial role in helping the business grow and keep fans engaged.
In a nutshell, it is to satisfy these demanding viewers & evolved market conditions that several filmmakers and producers are happy with collaborations featuring both Bollywood and Southern stars.
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