South Indian Cinema vs Bollywood Debate
Indian cinema is no longer only known for its Hindi films and Bollywood soundtrack. The South has already established a standard in India and abroad with its content-driven movies. There is no going back since mainstream viewers now value southern cinema more than ever. The South’s cinema is steadily releasing spectacular films that the public enjoys, from renowned actors and singers to esteemed artisans.
The gradual growth of South films on a national and international level
The Telugu film industry, in particular, has launched the post-pandemic era with a bang and solidified its foothold at the national level. This is an encouraging trend, and more southern films will likely try to accomplish it in the future. Baahubali set the pattern, which was then continued by Baahubali 2, Pushpa, Saaho, RRR, Vikram, and Major.
The Karnataka film industry has also experienced great success thanks to KGF 1 and 2. Even the Tamil film industry sought to make this move with 2.0. This just shows that, in recent years, every actor, director, and production company worth their salt from the Deep South has pushed to cross the border and connect with a larger local audience.
The transition has been taking place since the beginning of the pandemic. Regional content is currently performing better than Hindi movies. Most of the well-liked regional programming is available on OTT platforms like Netflix, Hotstar, and Amazon Prime Video in its native language. We won’t distinguish between content soon merely based on the language.
The Ongoing Bollywood vs South debate
In December 2021, the box office hit Pushpa: The Rise, starring Allu Arjun, was released. Pushpa is one of the best-grossing Telugu films of all time in India, with nearly Rs 350 crore at the box office. This film debuted alongside the Bollywood film 83. The critically acclaimed Pushpa: The Rise film received more positive reviews than the much-awaited Kabir-Khan film 83, starring Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone.
So, the question is, is this the beginning of a trend where regional cinema receives the same admiration and acclaim as Bollywood films? Will Bollywood need to step it up?
Bollywood celebrities and their offspring are regularly the targets of trolls and detractors who accuse them of being nepotistic, dressing provocatively, and having their godfather launch them into the business. Numerous Bollywood films have also recently faced boycotts. This happened lately with Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan’s Laal Singh Chaddha.
But when it comes to the South Indian film industry, things are very different. We frequently find online users in awe of South Indian celebrities who make things trend on social media, like Rajinikanth, Yash, Dhanush, Prabhas, Ram Charan, Chiranjeevi, and many more.
South’s influence on Bollywood and vice versa
In the past ten years, South Indian movies have changed the game. South Indian movies are hardly realistic. However, the content is curated so that it captivates the audience. For example, the films RRR and Bahubali were not as realistic or drama-free, yet the audiences adored them! They made their mark on the box office.
Nowadays, it appears that many filmmakers adhere to the adage “providing the old wine in a new bottle.” A number of South Indian films are being recreated in Bollywood, and both cinema industries have profited from the interchange of remakes.
However, the trend toward remakes also raises worries about the feasibility of independent plots established by directors. In recent years, large-scale projects and superstars with large budgets and fan bases have struggled to build a name for themselves.
This proves that the mainstream perception of Hindi film as “Indian cinema” has changed.
The Growing Mass appeal of South actors
South stars remain rooted in their communities. Vedaant Madhavan, the son of actor R Madhavan, recently made headlines when he won the swimming gold medal at the Danish Open 2022. The actor and his son received an outpouring of support shortly after the pleased father posted about the same on social media.
Ram Charan recently grabbed attention, as well, when he and his father Chiranjeevi were seen walking barefoot for the whole 41-day Ayappa Deeksha.
On Ram Navami, Sitara, the daughter of actor-superstar Mahesh Babu, also performed a Kuchipudi dance. The proud father shared the joyous moments on social media and received a lot of love for it.
Despite the collaboration of national-level performers and regional directors, Bollywood will need to step up its efforts. They will need to do more for their films to gain a committed fanbase. If Hindi box office income begins to fall, keep in mind that ancillary rights like satellite and digital may also have an impact on box office revenues.