Mahesh Babu's can't afford me remark to Chiranjeevi being upset on sidelining South; Stars on B-town
Here are the times when South actors like Mahesh Babu, Yash and others made statements on Bollywood.
Post the pandemic phase, the South film industry has risen like never before. With blockbuster hits like Pushpa, KGF, Vikrant Rona, Kantara, and more, it would not be wrong to say that the South film industry has clearly taken over Bollywood and created a new trend pan-India. The expectations from the South film industry have skyrocketed and every upcoming movie either out of Tollywood, Kollywood, Sandalwood, or the Malayaman film industry is looked at with high hopes.
The South films are receiving love from every corner and the craze for superstars like Allu Arjun, Ram Charan, Jr NTR, Yash, Samantha and etc is all over. Now, Hindi belt fans want to watch the movies irrespective of any language barrier and accept every versatile actor. With that, South actors have always been asked to share their thoughts on Bollywood and their debuts. So here are the times when South actors like Mahesh Babu, Yash, and others made statements on Bollywood.
Mahesh Babu is one of the biggest and most bankable stars in the South. With the rise of pan India and his forthcoming film with SS Rajamouli, the actor was asked about his debut and his response has sparked a big-time debate in Bollywood. The actor stated that "Bollywood cannot afford" him. "I may come across as arrogant, but I have received numerous offers in Hindi. However, I believe they cannot afford me. I don’t want to squander any of my time or others. I never considered leaving Telugu cinema or going to other places, because of the fame and love I have here."
Actress Priyamani, who has worked in Hindi and South spoke about Bollywood and said, "There was a time when earlier we had people like Sridevi, Rekha, Hema Malini, & Vyjayanthimala, who ruled Bollywood. And then there was a dearth you know. We have only Hindi-speaking actors in Bollywood and they used to sort of portray South Indians- could be somebody from Chennai or Kerala – they used to portray them as people who used to not speak Hindi in the normal way - ‘Aiyo, kaisa ji, kya bolta ji’. After a point they stopped that and started getting South technicians to Bollywood. And, we saw a surge of lot of South Indian technicians coming to Bollywood and making their mark successfully. And right now, I’m very happy that finally South talent is also getting recognised here in Bollywood and South stars are also getting their due."
Megastar Chiranjeevi shared his thoughts on how South cinema was sidelined and Hindi Cinema was only recognized as Indian Cinema. He recalled an incident about Bollywood at the pre-release event of his film Acharya which caught the limelight. "In 1988, I made a movie called Rudraveena with Naga Babu. It won the Nargis Dutt Award For Best Feature Film On National Integration. We went to Delhi to receive the award. "We were having tea in the hall. The walls around us were decorated with posters showcasing the grandeur of Indian cinema. There were some brief notes. There were photos of Prithiviraj Kapoor, Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna, Dharmendra, and so on. They showed their pictures, they described them beautifully. They praised various directors and heroines. And we thought they would also talk about South Indian cinema in such great detail. But they just showed a still image of MGR (M G Ramachandran) and Jayalalithaa dancing. They described it as South Indian cinema."
The actor then went on to list the big names from South Indian cinema that did not find a mention at all - Dr Rajkumar, Vishnuvardhan, N T Rama Rao, A Nageswara Rao, and Sivaji Ganesan."They were demigods to us. And there were no pictures of them. For me, it was humiliating. I felt very sad. They projected only Hindi cinema as Indian cinema. And they dismissed other industries as regional language cinema. They didn't even bother to acknowledge its contribution."
Shruti Haasan, who acted in Hindi films in the initial years of her career has stopped working in Bollywood now and is only focusing on the South. Sharing her views on Hindi cinema, she said, "I honestly have many times felt like an outsider, especially in Bollywood, there is a whole North-South thing that constantly happens. For example, if I’m doing three Telugu films and three Tamil films, they’ll say, ‘Oh, but you’re not focusing on Hindi,’ as if that is the only industry in the country. And it isn’t. So I have always felt like an outsider."
Recently, during an interview, when a journalist asked Yash to react to Bollywood superstar Salman Khan's remarks that he wonders why Hindi films aren't working down South but films from South cinema are working in the Hindi belt, Yash said, "It's not like that. Our films also never used to get this kind of reception, but what is happening from that part of the world, they have started playing dubbed versions here, people became familiar with the content of what we are creating. What worked today is people got familiar with our way of storytelling, our cinema, so it has not happened overnight. That has been there for a few years and eventually, they started understanding the content, the expression of the direction and everything."
Prabhas, who paved the path for pan-Indian films with his blockbuster film Baahubali, opened up about why Hindi failed to work in the South. "War did well in Telugu as far as I know. So, the push that started from Baahubali, now KGF.... maybe Brahmastra is the starting point or before it, something could do well (down South)...we don't know which film goes well because Baahubali, Pushpa or KGF no one thought it would do so well. We thought it was (Baahubali) going to be good, we all tried and it worked. But in future, we are going to see a lot of Indian films from different industries Tamil, Telugu, Punjab."
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