Mirroring The Industry: Prabhas, Vijay Sethupathi, Raashi Khanna and the sudden influx of South in Bollywood

The biggest Bollywood film till date, Adipurush, is produced by Bhushan Kumar with Prabhas, an actor who origins from the Hyderabad film industry, in lead. Pinkvilla Debates.
Mirroring The Industry: Prabhas, Vijay Sethupathi, Rashi Khanna and the sudden influx of South in Bollywood
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The Bahubali franchise changed the game plan of Hindi film industry, opening up the doors for the making of Pan-Indian films. The success also cemented the position of Prabhas as the only actor who has a loyal fan base in both, Northern and Southern film industry. That aside, the last year or so has seen a sudden surge in the actors from South being casted in Hindi films. Be it Vijay Sethupathi in Sriram Raghavan’s next and Mumbaiker, Rashmika Mandanna in Mission Majnu and Deadly, Pragya Jaiswal in Antim, Priyamani in Maidaan or many others which have been kept under wraps.

Even the Hindi web-series have a strong presence of Southern stars, ranging from Samantha Ruth Prabhu in Family Man 2, Nithya Menon in Breathe: Into The Shadows, Priyamani in Family Man or finally, Raashii Khanna and Vijay Sethupathi in the Raj and DK series, featuring Shahid Kapoor in lead. An insider informs that the sudden influx of south in Hindi films as well as web-shows has got to do with the demand of OTT players. “The OTT players are paying a premium price to Hindi content that has the presence of Southern stars, primarily because it helps them expand their viewership base of Hindi to the South Indian audience as well,” an insider informs on the condition of anonymity, adding that this trend is just going to get bigger, as it ensures a win and win scenario for the producers due to excess revenue from OTT players, and the OTT giants, due to an added revenue structure. Bollywood is also anticipating excess revenue from the Southern Box-Office, however, as it was visible with Dabangg 3, the presence of the top star from Karnataka, Sudeep, didn't really help the film gain traction in the Southern belt.

The OTT players are paying a premium price to Hindi content that has the presence of Southern stars, primarily because it helps them expand their viewership base of Hindi to the South Indian audience as well
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Interestingly, the biggest Bollywood film till date, Adipurush, is produced by Bhushan Kumar with Prabhas, an actor who origins from the Hyderabad film industry. And well, this should be an eye opener of sorts for the top names of Bollywood, as the success of Adipurush will pave way for many more mega-budget films in Hindi with names from South. It's an indication of the faith a producer has on the audience pull of Prabhas to justify the budget. Prabhas aside, the makers of Adipurush are keen to have Keerthy Suresh on board as the female lead, and this is after getting into advanced talks with Bollywood actress, Kriti Sanon. However, one isn’t sure till date on who of the two would be the one to play Sita in this epic directed by Om Raut.

While the regional boundaries are blurred post the success of Bahubali, with the Hindi audience opening up for South content, it’s time for Bollywood to pull up their socks. The slate of releases through the next two years is flooded with South Indian remakes. The original content churned out from Bollywood lacks the mass appeal, while the rest are majorly dependent on remakes. And this is the loophole that South is exploring in their favour. Their idea is to expand their market, and they are doing it successfully by catering to an audience that most in Bollywood have deserted – the masses. Imagine, if all South films end up being Pan-Indian, what would Bollywood remake? It’s time to think out of the box, beyond the Bandra to Juhu circuit, explore the true potential of Hindi films by churning out stories that bring back the audience from East-West-North-South on board.

The makers of Adipurush are keen to have Keerthy Suresh on board as the female lead, and this is after getting into advanced talks with Bollywood actress, Kriti Sanon
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Five years back, there was a clear divide between Hindi and South films but the gap is being bridged now . TV has had a major role to play in making the Southern superstars a familiar face among the masses, as the dubbed films have taken over the film channels. Allu Arjun, Mahesh Babu, Jr. NTR, Ram Charan, Ajith, Vijay, Suriya among others are known name in the interiors of India without even doing a single Pan-India film till date, thanks to constant screenings of their dubbed content on TV and YouTube.

Their entry in the hearts of Hindi speaking audience is like a ticking time bomb, waiting to explode. And if Bollywood continues to ignore the masses, well, it’s just a matter of few years before all the Hindi dubbed films start competing with Hindi films in the interiors. The last Hindi film to get over 3 crore footfalls in Bollywood was Tiger Zinda Hai (2017) and since then, the hunt for a well-made film that appeals to the audience all across continues. A commercial film need not necessarily be in the action space as it’s all about story telling with emotions that are universal. 

The magic of what Hindi cinema has been known for over the years has been lost, and so has the concept of stardom. One is yet to see a genuine superstar, who can make the audience go "Kaho Na Pyaar Hai", in Hindi industry after Hrithik Roshan (2000)
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Bollywood at present is going through a bad phase in all aspects, and what makes things even worse is the fact that it’s suffering from an identity crisis. While some filmmakers want to ape European cinema, there are some who are just keen to remake a successful formula from the South, and well, the trend of remaking international classics too is seeping in slow and steady. In the midst of all this, the magic of what Hindi cinema has been known for over the years has been lost, and so has the concept of stardom.  One is yet to see a genuine superstar, who can make the audience go "Kaho Na Pyaar Hai", in Hindi industry after Hrithik Roshan (2000). It’s time to revive that culture, winning over the audience, and create new trends, rather than trying to bank roll on the tried and tested formula in some or the other industry. Let there be songs, let there be dances, let there be drama, let there be emotions, let the be action, let there be those back stories… but well, let it flourish for a reason, and not just for the sake of recreating the good days gone by… Many so called "mass films" in today's time end up being "pretentious" and "trying too hard"... The South industry is sticking to the basic emotions but innovating in the story telling format and hence flourishing….

The new age cinema is in trend, and of course, it's essential, but the balancing act to co-exist with escapist cinema is need of the hour. Let commercial cinema not be the new niche..!!!  

Also Read| Mirroring The Industry: Will exhibitors narrow the theatrical window for Bollywood as Master premieres on OTT

Anonymous 2 months ago

Good written, we need more of such articles!.

Anonymous 2 months ago

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