OPINION: After films like Premalu, Bramayugam and Manjummel Boys, South Cinema looks forward to a recording-breaking 2024

The current trend that South Indian films have set in 2024 is surely a step in the right direction, and could potentially set the standard for films that go beyond cultural and linguistic barriers.

S Devasankar
Written by S Devasankar , Journalist
Updated on Apr 18, 2024 | 04:25 PM IST | 125.1K
Opinion: A recording-breaking 2024 for South Indian Cinema
OPINION: After films like Premalu, Bramayugam and Manjummel Boys, South Cinema looks forward to a recording-breaking 2024

Four months into 2024 and it is pretty safe to say that the South Indian film industries have started things off with a bang. Starting with Anand Ekarshi’s Aattam and Dhanush’s Captain Miller, several blockbuster films have already set the box office ablaze, and clearly, it is just the beginning. 

Recently, with Allu Arjun’s Pushpa, Ram Charan, Jr. NTR’s RRR, and Thalapathy Vijay’s Leo, South Indian films have been able to break into the North Indian markets. It is safe to say that South Indian films are the most talked about and anticipated films all over the country as well. 

By the looks of it, 2024 will be an excellent year for this breaking of “industry borders”, which can mainly be attributed to two factors: One, the onset and wide reach of OTT platforms, and two, the collaboration of actors across borders. 

Historical overview of Indian cinema

The culturally diverse Indian subcontinent led to the formation of several distinguished film industries like Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali, Assamese, and many more. Each distinguished film industry also flourished in its own way with its own superstars and stories.  


For the longest period, the only films that were able to break through linguistic borders were from the Hindi film industry, famously called Bollywood. Arguably, the only industry that could compete with Bollywood in the early days of Indian cinema was the Tamil film industry, which however was still confined to South India.


This popularity of Tamil films was because Kodambakkam, the hub of Tamil films, was also the starting point for other film industries like Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam film industries. 

Actors crossing borders - Early stages

The linguistic benefit of Hindi films made it easier for actors from other industries to feature in Hindi films, rather than the other way round. And over the years, several South Indian stars like Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, and even Sivaji Ganesan have acted in Hindi films that went on to be blockbusters as well.

Chachi 420 Kamal Haasan

However, the opposite of this, where Bollywood actors featured in regional films was quite rare to watch. Apart from the obvious linguistic disadvantage, another factor that held them back was arguably the fact that regional films were not as popular on a pan-India level, as compared to Hindi films.

The same could also be considered as the motivation for regional actors to appear in Hindi films. Needless to say, cinephiles always take note of good films, irrespective of language, but the audience was comparatively niche. 

The OTT Effect

In the late 2010s, a new term, or rather a new way of watching films became quite popular in India… An opportunity where one could watch whichever film they wanted from the comfort of their home, without having to depend on what was being broadcast on the TV. These, as we know them today, were OTT platforms. 

The OTT platforms gained more prominence over the pandemic when the entire nation was at a standstill. The abundance of time in one's hand coupled with their access to regional films through OTT platforms meant that these regional films were getting a larger audience, gaining popularity. 

This sudden increase in audience is, arguably, also the reason for the popularity of films like Pushpa, KGF, RRR, Kantara, and Leo, which broke cultural and linguistic barriers. The increased popularity also had an added effect - it broke borders for the actors as well.

KGF, RRR, Kantara

Actors and filmmakers were, for probably the first time, able to work freely, across linguistic borders. 

While prominent South Indian stars like Nayanthara and Vijay Sethupathi and even directors like Atlee and AR Murugadoss ventured into Hindi, actors like Saif Ali Khan, Bobby Deol and Janhvi Kapoor are willing to experiment with South Indian films, a phenomenon that was rarely seen before in Indian film history. 


In fact, Thalapathy Vijay’s Leo featured Sanjay Dutt as its main antagonist and was one of the most anticipated films all over the country in 2023. Several theaters across the nation had houseful shows right from the first day of Leo’s release.

Thalapathy Vijay and Sanjay Dutt in Leo

What 2024 holds in store

As mentioned earlier, the first quarter of 2024 alone has been pretty magnificent. Films like Premalu and Manjummel Boys garnered widespread acclaim from fans and critics alike. However, this is just the beginning! 

What the year, as well as the South Indian industry, holds in store is much larger. 

For the first time in 14 years, the Big 4 in the Tamil film industry, Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Thalapathy Vijay, and Ajith all have films releasing in the same year, with Vettaiyan, Indian 2, The Greatest of All Time, and VidaaMuyarchi respectively. The last time this happened was in 2010 when Rajini had Endhiran, Kamal had Manmadan Ambu, Vijay had Sura and Ajith had Aasal.

Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth, Ajith and Vijay

In fact, Vettaiyan also marks the Tamil debut of Amitabh Bachchan as well. In addition to this, both Suriya and Chiyaan Vikram also have releases this year, which are expected to be some of the biggest films of the year as well. 

Suriya will be seen in Siva’s Kanguva, which features Disha Patani in the lead, and has Bobby Deol portraying the antagonist, while Vikram will be seen portraying the lead in Pa. Ranjith’s Thangalaan.

Further, films like Prabhas’ Kalki 2898 AD, which features Deepika Padukone, Disha Patani, and Amitabh Bachchan, Allu Arjun’s Pushpa 2: The Rule, Ram Charan’s Game Changer, which features Kiara Advani, Jr. NTR’s Devara with Janhvi Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan in prominent roles are also set to release later this year.

Kalki and Devara

The Kannada film industry, or Sandalwood, also has some big films lined up, including Rishab Shetty’s Kantara: Chapter 1, as well as Dhruv Sarja’s KD - The Devil which features Sanjay Dutt, and Nora Fatehi as well. However, too early to say but Kantara 2 seems to be gearing up for a 2025 release.

As confirmed by Pinkvilla, Yash’s upcoming film Toxic will have Kareena Kapoor Khan as the female lead as well.



It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the current trend is a step in the right direction. With actors and filmmakers attempting to push their boundaries, it is the audience that wins with excellent story and cinema. 

Furthermore, the current trend of South Indian films, which seems to focus on the storyline and narrative, is sure to lift up the quality of Indian cinema as a whole. 

It is only a matter of time before even the mainstream audience begins to appreciate cinema irrespective of its language, or the face that stars in it.

This also means that it is only a matter of time before filmmakers create a film that transcends linguistic and cultural boundaries, and resonates with audiences from all strata of society.  A film that is truly ‘Indian’, in every sense of the word.

ALSO READ: Thalapathy Vijay to take a break from GOAT’s Russia schedule to cast his vote in 2024 Lok Sabha elections

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About The Author

A graduate in Economics, with heart made of cinema, Devasankar is vividly in love with world cinema! A true



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