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With many B-Town makers taking the OTT route, peeved exhibitors are in talks for dubbed versions of upcoming Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam releases

Cinema halls across the country have been shut since March owing to the coronavirus pandemic. Even though shoots have commenced, there is no official communication yet from any of the state governments on when theatres can open their doors. Meanwhile, several Bollywood producers have decided to release their films directly on digital platforms. Exhibitors across the country have protested this move, saying this will leave them with little content to screen when they reopen. Now, Mirror has learnt that these cinema owners have found a way to fight back. They are in talks with producers of Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam films for dubbed Hindi versions of upcoming releases featuring popular stars and having a pan-India appeal


“With tent-pole films like Bhuj: The Pride of India and Laxmmi Bomb going off our radar, we’re exploring the possibility of demolishing the language barrier,” informs Akshaye Rathi, a Nagpur-based exhibitor, adding that this will also give South producers an access to thousands of screens across the country.

He believes that South actors like Prabhas, Allu Arjun, Mahesh Babu, Jr NTR, Vijay Deverakonda, Vijay, Ajith, Rajinikanth, Yash and Mohanlal are more popular than some of the upcoming Hindi film stars. “They have a phenomenal draw on TV and we’re now looking to take these so-called regional stars to viewers across the country,” he states. Akshaye is betting on SS Rajamouli’s RRR, Allu Arjun’s Pushpa, Vijay’s Master, Yash’s KGF 2, Vijay Deverakonda’s Fighter, Prabhas-Deepika Padukone’s sci-fi and Ajith’s next, produced by Boney Kapoor, to draw the crowds in the months to come. Prabhas, Allu Arjun, Mahesh Babu, Jr NTR, Vijay, Ajith, Rajinikanth, Yash and Mohanlal have a phenomenal draw on TV and we’re now looking to take these so-called regional stars to viewers across the country –Akshaye Rathi, exhibitor from Nagpur Gurmeet Seble, an exhibitor from Delhi, agrees that despite poor dubbing, these South Indian films find an audience on TV. “With proper dubbing and marketing, they can revolutionalise cinema. Anyway, most of the Hindi films coming on OTT would have been theatrical disasters,” he asserts, pointing out that this will also cut down on South remakes and prompt Bollywood filmmakers to think out of the box to compete.


According to the exhibitor, Hollywood films, too, are bringing in numbers, on par with top Bollywood stars. “Collections of South films, too, will spike with every passing year. Wait for KGF 2, it will explode!” he promises, adding that if the Hindi versions of these films do well, it will push South actors to dub for themselves. “This will make them huge pan-India stars.” Gurmeet shares that in the Delhi-UP territory, the rights of some dubbed films sell for as little as Rs 2.5 lakh, but the recovery is very high. With proper dubbing and marketing, South Indian films can revolutionalise cinema. Anyway, most of the Hindi films coming on OTT would have been theatrical disasters — Gurmeet Seble, exhibitor, Delhi-UP Vishek Chauhan, an exhibitor from Purnia, Bihar, endorses this, saying dubbed films like Bahubali 2, 2.0 and Saaho have been the biggest hits in his theatres in the last few years. “Imagine a three-film old Prabhas opening on par with Salman Khan in Bihar; it’s possible. KGF released alongside Shah Rukh Khan’s Zero with zero hopes and surprised all the exhibitors,” he avers. He adds that some films like Mahesh Babu’s 2017 thriller, SpyDer, would’ve opened big in Hindi belts too. “I got at least 500 enquiries for the film, but the makers didn’t dub it. However, with social media at its peak, good content is travelling by word of mouth,” he says, confident that cinema halls will survive the virus, but isn’t too sure about the future of Bollywood. “I fear soon most Hollywood and South films will perform better than those in Hindi. Bollywood will be shocked when 10 to 12 South films clash with them at the box-office. The day is not far because now it’s all about entertainment.”

asked ago in General Queries by Location Manager (5.1k points)
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Agree with this. Since Bahubali, southern films have been a worthy opponent for Hindi films.

Even the dubbed movies garner so many views on YouTube. Sarrainodu and DJ are the top 2 most watched Hindi films on YouTube. So the Southern actors have a very strong pull in the Hindi markets. And with KGF 2, RRR, Pushpa we might see Southern films dominating the Box office in a few years time.

I don't see any Bollywood movie ever breaking Bahubali 2 All India record as Bollywood films are never appreciated in the Southern markets. But the last few years, many South Indian films are doing very well in the Hindi dubbed versions. Rather, the Hindi version of the films performs much better than the Southern languages.

So South Indian Pan-India films dominating the Box Office is definitely on the cards! High time Bollywood realises this and starts producing similar Pan India films instead of sticking to the same formulaic cinema

answered ago by Set Designer (1.9k points)
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i m not sure people will pay to watch south movies unlike yt videos though i agree bollywood has become too intellectual for its own good

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It's not the regular South Indian movies I am talking about. The larger than life, huge event films is what I am referring to. After the success of Bahubali, many South Indian producers will want to try their hand in making Pan India films. And stars like Allu Arjun, Prabhas and Ram Charan already have a strong fan base because of their dubbed movies.

So if there is a larger than life big canvas film of these actors and pair them opposite a known Bollywood actor, then record breaking collections can be expected. Of course this depends on the story and screenplay.

This is exactly what happened with 2.0 (Rajnikanth with Akshay Kumar), Saaho (Prabhas opposite Shraddha) and the same is expected to happen with Radhe Shyam and the film with Deepika. As long as the story/screenplay doesn't fall flat like Saaho, there is no stopping the South Indian films from breaking into Bollywood territory, just like how Hollywood films have done over the past few years.

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agree bollywood has given up on mass entertainer movies south has a chance to penetrate

+1 vote

South cinema and stars for sure have a chance to become more popular and their movies could well expand it's reach wider in Hindi belts easily but replacing Hindi movies completely isn't something I see in near future at least,though it might a possibility once the Khans and Hrithik are past their powress as I don't see any torch bearers to lead or represent the industry with a larger than life image or craze.. Just see Ranveer,Tiger ,Ranbir etc are the ones we are looking at next.. Not taking any credit away from them but I don't see anyone who will rightfully be the heirs to the throne of the Khans who are like real super stars..

Another point is that South always produces huge and wide range of exciting movies every time esp Tamil and Telugu industry which always excites audience and moviegoers while all I can remember about Bollywood is either a candy floss silly romance flicks or a big Dhoom / BB kind of flicks to represent their industry 's HUGE flick while South have always been ahead with movies like Magadheera, Arunthathi, Baahubali, Enthiran (Robot), Anniyan, Ai, Rangasthalam, Thupaki ,KGF, AR whilst making their own so called over the top action commercial flicks in plenty which in fact are the most welcome by TV watching audience in the north and then with a very wide range of experimental and romantic flicks.. Definitely south has a huge favour of movies and looking at the star Charisma, Prabhas, Allu Arjun, Mahesh Babu, Vijay, Yash, Surya, Dhanish etc are far more convincing than anyone from Bollywood after the end of Khans or Hrithik..

Bollywood in fact has no creativity IMO and a that they do is fail by trying to replicate or do something similar on the lines of some huge success in the south and look miserable..

answered ago by Executive Producer (67.7k points)
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Exactly bro.. These critics here only rave about a Dear Zindagi, Gully Boy type movies and write off other ones which in contrast has a different say with audience.. And also there no directors who can pull of movies on huge scale.. That is a pathetic situation for Bollywood..

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@shahaj.. all the movies that you mentioned if they were bollywood movies critics and intellectuals would have ridiculed and shred apart those movies
thugs was no way that horrible a movie the way it was ridiculed and mocked by critics and others i enjoyed it was a okayish one time watch but after that no one is attempting that genre again in bollywood

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That is what I'm talking about bro.. Keeping aside the critics part, still there is no one director to make a convincing huge scale movie..even Rohit Shetty movies are bashed but in the end they do great business and numbers at box office. That is what is more important.. And I don't believe Bollywood is shying away from those kind of movies just fearing the critics bashing it..

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@mumbo tbh thugs was bad but it was ridiculed so much probably because audience expect something different from aamir..but now nobody will even try that genre..only thing Bollywood is sometimes good at are biopics.

+1 vote

They are talented for sure. I've for long wished Salman or HR work with the likes of Rajamouli etc. Once the Khans, HR, Akshay etc decline and go away, anyways South movies will hold sway over North audiences too

answered ago by Super-star (171k points)
+1 vote

I don't think South will race past Bolly in North, yeah it has a void to fill in Central Market but Delhi/Punjab, don't think they'll go for a regular South Indian movie, it needs to be the biggest movie ever, that tag is necessary.
Anyway Prabhas has a market, BB has changed games, Pushpa can give the idea but I think it still needs a decade to overtake Bollywood.
And yes only Tollywood can overtake, if there's any chance it'll be tollywood only because the emotions of Telugu people matches with hindi belt, Tamil emotions won't work in North.
Tollywood can emerge the biggest industry after 10 years.
Bolly has to change the game, make more universal movies, attract Central india markets which has been ignored since long.
Except Mumbai (Delhi upto some extent) Bolly is in very bad state everywhere.
Stop pleasing critics, make a statement loud and clear
There'll be more Universal movies, spend on good writers.

answered ago by Assistant Director (56.3k points)

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