Stories, Emotions, Action, Star Power: Success formula of southern cinema

Tollywood continued its march in the new trend with director Sukumar’s ‘Pushpa: The Rise’ featuring superstar Allu Arjun in the lead.
Stories, Emotions, Action, Star Power: Success formula of southern cinema

Mumbai: Emotions, strong content, captivating storytelling, great visual effects, breathtaking action scenes and star cast from across movie industries is what is making some multilingual films from South rock at the box-office in recent times and emerge as pan-India movies. From 'Baahubali' to 'KGF 2', all the blockbusters have a common element of emotions while creativity by the filmmakers with the use of the state-of-the-art technology and action added to their success.

Filmmakers and others connected with Tollywood attribute the new trend of pan-India movies to the availability of various social media and OTT platforms helping the audience to make informed choices and the new means of communication facilitating fast spread of the word about movies with good stories irrespective of the languages they are made in.

They hailed the new trend which removed the language barrier and offered a level-playing field to regional film industries and the actors and artists. The filmmakers believe this trend augurs well for the new generation.

The trend of dubbing movies in multiple languages, including Hindi, and releasing simultaneously all over India started with 'Baahubali: The Beginning' (2015) directed by S. S. Rajamouli, who went beyond the Telugu states to tap other regional and Hindi markets and even international opportunities.

Two years later came its sequel 'Baahubali 2: The Conclusion' which broke all the records to emerge as the highest-grossing movie with reported collections of over Rs 500 crore in Hindi.

The two-part epic-fantasy franchise not only marked the arrival of Tollywood on the big platform but set a new trend of filmmaking in India.

Though simultaneously made in Telugu and Tamil, it was dubbed in Malayalam and Hindi, targeting the entire Indian market. It dazzled movie lovers beyond boundaries and was even dubbed in Japanese, Russian and Chinese.

After Tollywood, it was the turn of Kannada film industry to continue the crossover trend with 'KGF: Chapter 1' in 2018. Written and directed by Prashanth Neel and starring Yash in the lead, it brought recognition to Kannada industry, which was not considered strong like Telugu and Tamil film industries.

Like 'Baahubali-2', the sequel of KGF 'KGF: Chapter 2' broke new records to become third highest grosser in Hindi in two weeks.

'KGF: Chapter 2', released in Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu, also stars Sanjay Dutt and Raveena among many others.

Tollywood continued its march in the new trend with director Sukumar's 'Pushpa: The Rise' featuring superstar Allu Arjun in the lead.

Released pan-India in December 2021, the film has already grossed a whopping Rs 365 crore. 'Pushpa-2' , which is set to commence production soon, is expected to follow in the footsteps of 'Baahubali' and 'KGF' series.

Last month , Rajamouli came back to recreate his magic with 'RRR' starring Ram Charan Teja and Junior NTR along with Bollywood stars Ajay Devgan and Alia Bhatt.

These movies started a new trend. It was no longer filmmakers picking a hit Telugu or Tamil film and re-making it in Hindi with Bollywood star cast. Since re-making regional films starring actors like Rajinikanth, Chiranjeevi, Vikram, Surya into Hindi costs huge sums, the producers started dubbing as it was the cheapest way to reach a larger audience.

While dubbing of Tamil, Telugu and other regional films and even Hollywood films into Hindi is not new, the availability of digital technology has made the process smooth and the mixing of various ingredients has ensured success. Filmmaker Laxman Murari termed this a new trend of making grandeur films. He pointed out that television channels every day show six-seven South Indian movies dubbed in Hindi but not every dubbed version is liked by people.

"Today, I can find 100 movies on different online platforms in no time. With the increase in the number of platforms, the awareness about movies increased," he said. The audience wants greater enjoyment in a small time and with less expenditure. This is why even 10-30 second videos have become immensely popular.

Laxman, who is engaged with dubbing of several films, pointed out that unlike in the past when dubbing had several challenges like lip synchronisation, the digital technology has helped overcome them. Another filmmaker DR B K Kiran Kumar is of the view that audiences don't want to watch family dramas in theatres as they can watch any number of 'saas bahu' stories on multiple television channels.

"Family drama films can't run in theatres also because of increasing ticket prices. Who will spend Rs.500 to Rs.1000 for the first day show to watch family dramas. The audience wants to watch movies with great visuals and sound effects," he said.

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Sentinel Assam