With back-to-back colossal flops from B-town’s big guns, the flickering starry shine of the Bollywood stars and the bright starry vibes of the south stars have been the talk of the tinsel town.
But is this the new script? Nooootttt.. at all. But the plot has its twists and turns. The Hindi heartland cine-goers' fascination for south movie plots is not a newfound rage, and nor will it be a nine days fad. Because the ‘bonding’ is of decades old.
Prince of remakes
South films' romance with Hindi heartland dates back to 1967.
Evergreen star Jeetendra reached the starry heights via the south remakes only. The jumping jack of Bollywood hit his first commercial success with Farz (1967), which was a remake of the Telugu film Goodachari 116.
The handsome star, who had nearly bewitched Dream Girl Hema Malini, then acted in umpteen original Hindi movies, but success at the box office eluded him.
His stars shined again when three back-to-back hits - Jeene Ki Raah (Bratuku Teruvu), Jigri Dost (Emme Thammanna), Waris (Naan)- all remakes of south movies, struck a chord with Hindi and non-south film buffs.
In 1970, Jeetu's Himmat, a remake of Adhrusthavantulu, Jawab (Sabhash Suri), Humjoli (Paankara Kudumbam) had a dazzling show at the box office counters. Even in 1971, his super hit 'Ek Nari Ek Brahmachari' was a remake of Brahmachari (telugu).
With remake shows doing big biz on Hindi screens, and with Jeetu making the wonder happen, he was known as the prince of remakes.
Jeetu was the cynosure of renowned filmmaker LV Prasad. The wonder pair saw the remakes raking moolah in Bollywood.
Jeetendra, the prince of remakes, gave the Midas touch to south movie makers. And the ‘caravan’ runs big in the 1980s, when Big B's screen presence was on a downhill for the reason of the 'Coolie' tragedy and political debut.
South changes track
Even as the prince of the remake had been the golden formula for south filmmakers to strike rich in B-town, South Stars made their debut in Bollywood around the 80s only.
Universal Hero Kamal Haasan made his Bollywood debut with 'Ek Duje Ke Liye' (1981) which was a remake of his own Telugu film 'Maro Charitra'. The movie emerged as the highest-grossing Indian movie of the year with a tremendous box office collection.
Meanwhile, Thalaivar Rajinikanth made his B Town entry with 'Andha Kanoon' in 1983. The movie also starred Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini. It became a box office hit.
Following the trail, several other superstars from down south forayed into Bollywood to try their luck. Among such actors, Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna, and Daggubati Venkatesh had a fair play but failed to entice Hindi movie lovers in a long run.
On the other hand, both Rajini and Kamal had long innings with several blockbusters in B Town. The duo earned a huge fandom for their impeccable onscreen performances and unique swag. Be it Rajini's charismatic and iconic cigarette style, wearing sunglasses or eating chewing gum, he earned a separate fan base.
Revolution in Indian cine industry
The sprawling massive fandom of Rajini and Kamal brought a major revolution in the Indian cine industry. The era of ‘Hindi dubbed’ south movies was heralded. Films of Kamal, Rajini were screened in multiple languages simultaneously, including Hindi, instead of remakes. But, the Hindi-dubbed movies didn't work well in the Hindi belt.
Though Rajini achieved his biggest commercial success in the regional industry with a remake of Hindi movies, i.e. Don (Billa) and Gol Maal (Thillu Mullu), he continued his journey in B Town as a supporting character.
However, luck smiled. In 2000s, ‘Hindi dubbed’ movies tasted box office success. And the trend was started by none other than Thalaivar Rajinikanth.
Several of his Tamil-origin movies were dubbed in Hindi. The movies like Chandramukhi, Shivaji: The Boss, Robot, Kabali, Lingaa, Kaala and Robot: 2.0 were highly appreciated and did good business too.
The trailblazer left by Rajini has turned into a whirlwind now that apparently appears to be blowing out the B-town credentials.
The south filmmakers have changed their approach and are releasing movies in multiple languages, of which, many have proved to be a jackpot. Apart from the Hindi belt, the movies are earning big in the international market and leaving a great impact on the minds of movie lovers.
South actors trail blazer on bigger canvas
After a long gap, several top guns from the south like R. Madhavan, Siddharth, Dhanus, Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, Ram Charan, Jr NTR and Yash et al have made their entry into Bollywood. While, Maddy, Sid and Dhanush have worked in multiple Hindi movies, all others are the new entrants in B Town. However, all these actors have left a mark on a bigger canvas and are among the most celebrated actors in B Town apart from their regional industries.
Even actors like Prakash Raj and Kiccha Sudeep also have played successfully in the tinsel town.
Having played successful innings, these actors will certainly come up with more Hindi projects to enthrall the pan-India audience. While Maddy and Sid are actively working in Bollywood, now Prabhas, Ram Charan, Jr NTR, Allu Arjun and Yash have stolen the thunder.
New craze In new age...
The recent pan-India movies starring south actors in the lead including Baahubali: The Beginning, Baahubali: The Conclusion, KGF: Chapter 1, Pushpa: The Rise, RRR and KGF: Chapter 2 have already made it big. Except for Pushpa, all other movies have registered enormous box office collections leaving the Hindi movies stuttering at the box office.
Apart from registering the highest box office collection, RRR is touted as the probable contender for the 2023 Oscars in the Best Picture category, Jr NTR has been listed as a possible contender for the 2023 Oscars in the 'Best Actor' category. Well, if everything goes well and good, RRR could bring India's first Oscar nomination in 21 years after Lagaan. This tells the bigger tale of how strong is the south wind in Bollywood,
The Plot Line
South’s dalliance with Bollywood is not a new-age romance. B Town has to put its head down into the history of Indian cinema. Even, in that golden era of Hindi cinema, south movie plots were cherished and relished a lot. But the star power of south superstars lacked the charisma to strike a chord with the non-south audience.
The new twist now is the star power of actors like Yash, Prabhas, and Jr NTR has turned magnetic, sinking the fortunes of Bollywood stars and the plot.